The start of work on assembling a new jet engine at GE Aviation’s plant in Arkansas City has been delayed.
Jorge Perez, GE Aviation plant leader, said in an e-mail to The Eagle on Thursday that the delay was from a holdup in production of a Bombardier business jet that will be equipped with the new Passport 20 engine.
“We are still moving forward with final assembly although transition plans have moved a little due to the push of the global 7000/8000 but not much,” Perez said in the e-mail. “Investments needed are still on track.”
Perez said in a second e-mail that the delay will be less than a year.
Perez’s e-mail response came after an Eagle query about plans for the plant’s engine work.
In March, GE Aviation announced that it had selected the Arkansas City plant, based at Strother Field, to be the final assembly site for the new engine. The company expected to spend about $7 million to equip the plant for the new work.
The Strother site and another in nearby Winfield employ about 700 people and maintain, repair and overhaul GE-built helicopter, and regional and commercial jet engines.
The Passport engine wasn’t expected to create additional jobs but instead add a piece of long-term work for GE’s Cowley County facilities.
Work on assembling the Passport engines was expected to begin next year.
The Passport engine was designed for large cabin, long-range business jets and is set to be used on Bombardier’s new Global 7000 and 8000 jets. In July, Bombardier announced it would push back by two years the entry-into-service date of the Global 7000, to the second half of 2018.
Perez said in an earlier Eagle story that the Strother Field plant competed with nearly 80 other GE Aviation sites for the work. It also had to earn Federal Aviation Administration approval to assemble the engines and be included on GE’s product certificate, he said.