Alcoa looks to cash in on booming aircraft business with new alloy plant in Indiana

Industrials Associated Press

Alcoa Inc. has opened a $90 million plant to make aluminum-lithium alloys for use in planes, expanding the company's involvement in the aircraft industry.

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Alcoa said Thursday that the plant in Lafayette is the biggest of its kind and will create 75 jobs. The company said it received incentives worth more than $6.2 million from state and local governments.

The plant is designed to provide aircraft manufacturers with lighter and stronger alloys that are cheaper than titanium and composite materials. Lighter materials produce planes that burn less fuel, which is the largest single expense for many airlines.

Boeing and Airbus have huge backlogs of orders from airlines looking for new, fuel-efficient planes. By expanding its sales of products to those companies and auto manufacturers, Alcoa has been reducing its exposure to low aluminum prices.

New York-based Alcoa has also expanded aluminum-lithium capacity at plants near Pittsburgh and in the United Kingdom. The company said it has contracted for $100 million in revenue from the plants in 2017.

Shares of Alcoa fell 28 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $15.43 in afternoon trading. They began the day up 48 percent in 2014.