NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Our local economy is getting a big boost. Australian airline Qantas has placed a $2 billion order with the GE Aviation Plant in Castle Hayne.
Our GE plant currently employs more than 600 people. Because of this Qantas project, they'll be adding 20 new employees each year for the next five years.
"We make the most technically-challenging rotating parts in the world, and when no one else can build them, they usually come to us, and this team can get it done," said Aviation Plant Leader Kevin Prindable.
He is excited that Qantas hired GE to make the rotating parts for the Leap-X engines that will power 78 Airbus crafts in 2016.
"Our people make our product. They work really hard to innovate," said GE Manufacturing Engineer Bobby Schultz. "That innovation comes out of some of the things we just have to do."
Schultz has worked at GE for 34 years. He's done every job on the floor and is proud to be part of a company that has such an impact on the community.
"We reach out to the Yahweh Center and support them. We are doing Relay for Life. Of course, the economic impact is huge. Just the fact that we can keep churning employees. Now, we are starting to hire sons and daughters of people who have retired here, so that's really cool," Schultz said.
Prindable said the new engines are the best on the market. He believes other airlines will begin replacing older models with the Leap-X.
Although it's one of the largest, the Qantas order is not the only new project GE is working on. The aviation plant has more than 35 new productions going on.