NORTH BERWICK, Maine — Pratt & Whitney, which recently secured a $1 billion jet engine contract, is planning to expand its Wells Road manufacturing plant.
The aerospace company has proposed a 19,000-square-foot addition that will be used for shipping, receiving and packaging of engine modules, according to Ray Hernandez, spokesman for United Technologies, parent company of Pratt & Whitney.
“This new space is required at North Berwick as Pratt & Whitney is entering a significant period of growth with the continued success of its next generation commercial engine family,” he said, referring to the F135 engine for F-35 Lightning II fighter jets and the V2500 commercial engine line.
The company would not disclose the cost of the expansion. Hernandez also would not say if it would bring additional jobs to the facility, which employs about 1,300 people.
The project will come before North Berwick’s planning board at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 13, for a public hearing at the municipal building. It’s not clear if additional review will be required. Town Manager Dwayne Morin referred questions on the application to Code Enforcement Officer Larry Huntley, who was not available Friday.
“You can certainly state that the town is in favor of the expansion in that a growth in manufacturing at the largest employer in the town as well as the region is good news,” Morin said in an email.
“Having growth in the manufacturing at Pratt and Whitney only solidifies its presence in the area and is good news for current employment as well as future employment,” he continued.
Maine House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, called Pratt & Whitney a great employer and an economic bright spot in York County. He welcomed the proposed expansion, especially if it leads to more jobs.
“If we can get more workers there at the facility, that’s fantastic,” Eves said Friday.
Workers at the 1 million-square-foot Pratt & Whitney plant in North Berwick manufacture precision machined parts for commercial and military jets. The facility is also responsible for after-market overhaul and repair on some commercial and military engine parts, Hernandez said.
Pratt & Whitney announced in August that it had received a $1 billion U.S. Department of Defense contract to build 38 engines for the F-35 fighter jet. The contract also includes program management, engineering support and spare parts.
The company is negotiating with the government for additional F-35 engine contracts, Hernandez said.
The expansion has been proposed for the east side of the Wells Road facility. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year.
Distributed by MCT Information Services