Leading Aviation Companies Generating Jobs And Capital Investment
Aviation companies have made more than $117 million in capital investment and created 880 new jobs this year in northeast Florida, according to JAXUSA Partnership, the economic development arm of the JAX Chamber.
Among them are Northrop Grumman Corporation, which announced its designation of an Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St. Augustine that will create 400 new jobs and capital investment of $80 million. The Department of Defense awarded a $427 million contract to Embraer and Sierra Nevada Corporation to build the Super Tucano military aircraft at Jacksonville International Airport. And, Flightstar is expanding its hangar space that will add 400 new jobs and $27 million in capital investment. KCI Aviation is building a new hangar at Cecil Airport to do MRO work on airplanes, adding 30 new jobs and $6.6 million in capital investment. Boeing, Unison Industries, LSI and Kaman Aerospace have a strong presence in the region. The Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, located at NAS Jacksonville, employs more than 4,600 workers to provide aviation maintenance solutions.
The chamber says that aviation companies value Northeast Florida’s location because of its global accessibility. The region offers cost-effective assets, including Cecil Commerce Center – the largest industrial park in the Southeast, for profitable company margins as aviation industry wages in the region are well below those of the U.S. overall. Cecil Airport (pictured) is suited for a mixture of aviation/aeronautical uses including maintenance, repair and overhaul, as it is the only non-government owned, certified spaceport on the East Coast and has the third longest runway in Florida. Companies are afforded competitive rates and direct flight and ramp line access.
More than 9,000 workers are employed in the aviation industry and 100+ aviation-related defense contractors operate in the region. These aviation workers offer a diverse talent pool of skilled technicians and laborers to recruit from, including the more than 3,000 retired military workers that return to private work.
Northeast Florida’s educational institutes tailor their aviation courses to train workers to match the skill-sets needed for existing companies with more than 1,000 students graduating annually.
“Northeast Florida is an aviation center of excellence due to the region’s skilled workforce, business-friendly climate, quality of life and available land,” said JAXUSA Partnership President Jerry Mallot.