Flying High: NE Florida takes off with aviation growth. Adding 880 jobs this year

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) is beginning to produce a new fleet of E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft for the U.S. Navy at the company’s St. Augustine, Fla., facility.  The company recently identified its St. Augustine manufacturing facility as one of the company’s new Aircraft Integration Centers of Excellence.  Photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Northeastern Florida has attracted more than $117 million in capital investment and 880 new jobs from top aviation companies this year, according to the JAXUSA Partnership, the key economic development organization for the region. 

Northrop Grumman Corp. invested $80 million in an Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in St. Augustine that will create 400 new jobs.

The Department of Defense awarded a $427 million contract to Embraer and Sierra Nevada Corp. to build the Super Tucano military aircraft at Jacksonville International Airport. 

Flightstar is expanding its hangar space, adding 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 also 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.

“Northeast Florida is an aviation center of excellence due to the region’s skilled workforce, business-friendly climate, quality of life and available land,”  JAXUSA Partnership President Jerry Mallot said in a news release.

Aviation companies value the location because of its global accessibility, the release states. The region offers cost-effective assets, including Cecil Commerce Center  – the largest industrial park in the Southeast.  

Cecil Airport 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 plus 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, the release states.

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.

JAXUSA news release – A division of the JAX Chamber

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