Honda Aero, a subsidiary of Honda, will build a $27 million jet engine plant at the Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport, the company and Gov. Mike Easley announced Tuesday morning.

The long-rumored deal will mean the creation as many as 140 jobs, according to an agreement between the company and the Alamance Airport Authority.

Engines built at the plant will be used for the new HondaJets, which are to be constructed at Honda Aircraft’s $100 million assembly facility that is being built at the Piedmont Triad International Airport. Honda picked the Piedmont for the primary jet facility earlier this year.

The engines were designed by GE Honda Aero, a joint venture between GE and Honda.

The production facility will cover 102,400 square feet, according to the company. Production will begin in 2010.

"This is a major step forward for our company, as we move to establish the home of our jet engine manufacturing operations here in Burlington," said Fumitaka Hasegawa,chief executive officer of Honda Aero, in a statement. "Just as our partnership with GE has created this class-leading engine, this facility reflects an important new partnership between Honda and North Carolina."

State incentives to help lure the engine facility to North Carolina will total some $1.7 million, based on the number of jobs created.

Local governments are also contributing some $11 million in incentives and airport improvements, according to media reports.

Honda Aero will purchase some 90 acres from the Alamance Airport Authority for the plant and invest $65 million in all, according to the Times News in Burlington.

The company will employ 140 people at the site by 2013, according to an agreement between the airport authority and Honda Aero, the newspaper added.

Honda Aero will move operations from Reston, Va., in support of the engine plant.

”When innovative, world-leading companies such as Honda Aero choose to locate in North Carolina, it proves we are still first in flight more than a century after the Wright brothers took off from Kitty Hawk,” Easley said in a statement. ”We will continue to make the smart investments in education and worker training that attract great companies and great jobs for the working families of this state.”

The jobs will pay an average of $62,000 plus benefits. According to the state, that figure is nearly twice the average wages of $31,300 paid in Alamance County.

Other partners participating in the industrial recruiting project were the N.C. Department of Commerce, the N.C. Community College System, , N.C. Department of Transportation, the Burlington-Alamance Airport Authority, Alamance County, the City of Burlington and Duke Energy.