The Czech government has approved a deal with GE Aviation to build a new €350 million ($385 million) facility in the country to house development, testing and production of its new advanced turboprop (ATP) engine family.

Production of the new engines is expected to start by 2022 and create 500 new jobs, says the Czech trade and industry ministry. The facility is expected to be located in the capital Prague.

"The investment will contribute significantly to the development of co-operation between investors and Czech research institutions," the ministry says. "It will also help to change the traditional scheme whereby multi-national firms in the Czech Republic introduce production, but research and development is implemented elsewhere."

The ministry says it will provide Kc1.98 billion ($81.4 million) of funding in the 2016-18 period towards early development costs of the new turboprop, and says US-based GE can apply for a 25% subsidy towards the cost of constructing the new facility.

Plans for the venture were originally announced in January – but details remained to be worked out and speaking to FlightGlobal at the Farnborough air show on 13 July, Brad Mottier, vice-president and general manager of GE's business and general aviation unit, said the company was back in talks with the Czech government about the location of the final assembly line for the ATP. However, he indicated at the time that the company was was still “leaning” towards the country's capital.

Prague is already home to GE's engineering and production facility – the former Walter Aircraft Engines business it acquired in 2008.

The new centre will be dedicated to the development of turboprops in the 1,000-2,000shp (735-1,500kW)-range. The first member of GE’s ATP family will the 1,240shp engine to power Textron Aviation’s clean-sheet turboprop-single, the Cessna Denali.

Local news agency CTK reports that production of around 400 engines is anticipated in the first year, rising to 600 annually by 2026.

Source: Flight International