News Column

New JAA Hangar at Cecil Field that Will Create up to 400 New Jobs

Dec 17, 2012

Roger Bull

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority agreed Monday morning to build a new, $27 million hangar at Cecil Airport, with the promise of 350-400 new jobs.

Flightstar Aircraft Services, which maintains, repairs and converts aircraft at Cecil, will lease the 150,000-square-foot hangar and 11.5 acres.

The cost of the building the hangar will be split evenly by JAA and the Florida Department of Transportation, with $13.5 million from each. Flightstar will equip it.

Jerry Hernandez, president of Flightstar, said the company now employs about 850 people at Cecil. The company has capacity to work on about 10 planes, usually owned by airlines, at a time, with another 8-10 planes either arriving or leaving.

But it often is at capacity and has to turn away business.

"This hangar couldn't come along fast enough," he said.

The new hangar will have room for another 4-6 aircraft.

Aircraft can spend anywhere from 14 to 90 days at the facility, he said, because work ranges from routine maintenance to converting a passenger aircraft to a freight carrier.

Hangar construction should take about 15 months, and Hernandez said the 350-400 new jobs should be filled in the 12-18 months following that.

Mechanics will receive about $20-$25 an hour. Middle management, he said, could get into six figures.

Flightstar was founded in 2000 at Jacksonville International Airport and moved to Cecil in 2005.

Steve Grossman, executive director of JAA, said that 25 years ago, a lot of the type of work that Flightstar does was going overseas.

"Cecil Airport as well as Cecil Commerce Center will be a growth magnet," Grossman said. "It will pull jobs to the Westside."



Source: (c)2012 The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.