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GKN Aerospace to establish new aerospace assembly facility in South Carolina

News International-French

29 Nov 2011

The new GKN Aerospace facility will perform assembly operations for the recently-awarded production contract for the HondaJet, (announced on the 14th of November 2011) the development work for which is currently performed at the company’s Alabama facility. This work will involve assembly of the state of the art all-composite fuselage for Honda’s new HondaJet light business jet – work which is scheduled to begin at the Orangeburg site in mid-2012.

Design and equipping of the new 150,000 sq ft. plant will begin shortly and is scheduled to be operational by the 2nd half of 2012. Recruitment of the first new staff will begin in spring, 2012. GKN Aerospace expects over 75 personnel to be working in the new facility within the first year of production, with employment rising to approximately 300 within the next 5 years. The company aims to recruit the majority of these personnel from the local region.


Kevin Cummings, President and CEO, Aerostructures North America noted:  "This facility is at the heart of the growth of our business in the US. The contract on the pioneering HondaJet represents a new product line, and a customer relationship of which we are particularly proud. This move brings the vital assembly activity close to Honda’s own plant. Over the longer term we expect the new site to serve a range of aerospace customers on assembly tasks across civil and military aviation."


Added Cummings, "Throughout our site selection process, the State of South Carolina, Orangeburg County Council, and the City of Orangeburg Council have been visionary and enthusiastic partners. The relationship we have developed with their team was a key factor in our decision process."



About the composite HondaJet fuselage

GKN Aerospace has gained a production contract with Honda Aircraft Company as supplier of the unique, composite, light-weight bonded fuselage for the HondaJet advanced light business jet.  Manufacturing of the fuselage has commenced and is being conducted at the GKN Aerospace production facility in Alabama, USA.


Marcus Bryson, CEO of GKN Aerospace. "Our two years of development work with Honda Aircraft to create this innovative, composite fuselage has extended GKN’s established relationship with Honda. We look forward to working closely with Honda Aircraft in the years ahead as the most advanced light jet yet created reaches its full potential."


The HondaJet fuselage, designed by the Honda Aircraft Company, is constructed of composites co-cured integrally in an autoclave. This innovative manufacturing process reduces manufacturing complexity whilst the composite structure produces a lighter fuselage that offers greater fuel efficiency and significantly increased interior cabin space. 


GKN Aerospace gained the HondaJet fuselage development contract in 2009. Initial development and certification of component fabrication, fuselage assembly and production work has been completed by teams at GKN Aerospace’s Tallassee, Alabama facility. The HondaJet aircraft, which is currently in development and certification testing, will be manufactured at Honda Aircraft’s world headquarters location in Greensboro, North Carolina.


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