Company Will Also Retrofit Seats On Airbus Fleet
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority and First Coast Aerospace
Inc. announced Tuesday the launch of a new aircraft maintenance and
repair company based at Jacksonville International Airport
First Coast Aerospace, founded by industry veterans Merrill L.
Woods and Gilmer "Tripp" Carter III, may be a start-up operation,
but it's kicking off operations with a significant project.
The 12-employee company won a contract to replace all the
seating in a fleet of Frontier Airlines' aircraft. The first of the
10 Airbus A318s and 49 Airbus A319s to be retrofitted with new,
lighter seats and TV monitors arrived at JAX Tuesday.
Under terms of the contract, First Coast Aerospace workers must
complete the seating retrofit and have each plane on its way in 36
hours. It will take 15 months to complete work on all 59
In addition to the seat modification project, First Coast
Aerospace has been contracted to handle the ground support
operations on Frontier Airlines jets that arrive at JAX.
"As a startup company, we are thrilled about our relationship
with a major carrier such as Frontier Airlines," said company
president Woods. "We intend to show Frontier and the aviation
industry that we have the expertise and capability here in
Jacksonville to perform at the highest level."
"We look forward to working with First Coast as they help make
our award-winning product even more comfortable and
fuel-efficient," said Frontier Airlines Senior Vice President of
Operations Chris Collins. "And we are confident that First Coast
Aerospace will do a great job retrofitting our Airbus fleet."
Woods and Carter started their business after nearly 50 years of
combined aircraft maintenance experience with major airlines and
aircraft maintenance and repair operators. Between them, Woods and
Carter, who is vice president and general manager, have performed
maintenance and repair most types of commercial aircraft now flying
in the US.
"The aviation market is growing and
we see a strong need for a repair facility like First Coast
Aerospace," Carter said. "A number of factors are driving demand.
The number of low-cost carriers continues to grow; airlines are
outsourcing more and more of their repair and maintenance work;
and, the fleet of aircraft in the US is aging."
"First Coast Aerospace is exactly the kind of promising company
we want to attract to Jacksonville," said John Clark, CEO and
Executive Director of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, which
owns and manages JAX, Cecil, Herlong and Craig Airport. "The fact
that Frontier and First Coast Aerospace selected Jacksonville
speaks well for our burgeoning aviation industry."
"This is a wonderful new addition to our growing aviation sector
both at JAX and Cecil Field," said Jerry Mallot, executive vice
president of the Cornerstone economic development program and
executive vice president of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of
"Aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul is one of our
targeted industries in the Jacksonville area and this announcement
is great news."