A Burlington company is now one of just six in the U.S. approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to produce jet engines. The announcement could mean more jobs in the region.
Honda Aero Inc. is now certified to begin manufacturing the HF 120 jet engine at its plant located at the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport. It’s partnering with General Electric to make the engines.
The company has invested around $40-million in the facility since it opened in 2008 and currently employs around 80 people.
Mel Solomon, manager of sales and customer service for Honda Aero, says the production certification means new opportunities in the industry.
“Once you get this production certificate, there is significantly less involvement from the FAA in the production of your engine, so you are almost independent of the FAA,” says Solomon. “What it is doing is really creating more flexibility and allowing us to be able to produce engines at a faster rate to meet the demands of customers.”
One of those customers is HondaJet in Greensboro. He says the engine will be used in their new $4.5 million lightweight business jet, which is expected to be powering jets later this year.
The number of jobs added in Burlington will depend on the market. Honda Aero currently makes around 100 engines a year and hopes to increase that number to 500 in the future.
According to the FAA, this is the first time it has awarded a production certificate for jet engines in 23 years.