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June 17 Alcoa Inc plans to invest $25
million at its power and propulsion facility in Hampton,
Virginia, to start production of lighter-weight jet engine
blades and meet growing demand from the aerospace sector, it
said on Tuesday.
As part of a project starting this month and lasting until
the fourth quarter of next year, the company will add equipment
for a new production line and modify existing machinery to
produce blades made of nickel-based super alloys for
next-generation aircraft engines, it said.
The move will add at least 75 new full-time employees over
While the financial size of the project is small relative to
Alcoa's size, it marks a further shift by the U.S. aluminum
producer toward making high-strength nickel-based alloys that
can tolerate hot temperatures for jet engines and turbines
without using aluminum.
Last month, the company said it will build a plant to make
nickel-based super alloy jet engine parts for commercial
aircraft in Indiana.
These investments are part of the company's efforts to boost
profits from its downstream businesses, which makes products
like truck wheels and aircraft fuselages, and offset weak
primary aluminum prices.
Alcoa has forecast the global aerospace market will grow by
between 8 percent and 9 percent this year, driven by strong
demand for both large commercial aircraft and regional jets and
continued growth in the business jet market.
(Reporting by Josephine Mason in New York; Editing by Jeffrey
Benkoe and Jonathan Oatis)