Aviation Repair Technologies to Open Engine Repair Facility in Blytheville, Employ 310

by Mark Friedman  on Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2008 9:17 am  

Aviation Repair Technologies said Wednesday it will open a $20 million airframe and engine repair plant at the Arkansas Aeroplex in Blytheville.

The company expects to employ from 310 to 440 workers within three years. The average pay will be $20 an hour.

ART's activities at the Aeroplex will include line maintenance, heavy maintenance, jet engine overhaul and other maintenance for aircraft such as the CFJ-200 and ATR-72. ART provides maintenance for several operators around the country including Federal Express, Delta Air Lines and American Eagle.

"Aerospace is one of Arkansas' fastest-growing industries and a focus of our economic-development efforts," said Gov. Mike Beebe in the news release. Products in aerospace are the state's top export, and companies in that sector expect to add 5,000 jobs in Arkansas over the next 10 years.

The $16.9 billion annual airline maintenance market is projected to grow 4.3 percent a year, said Ben Quevedo Sr., chairman of ART and CEO of Aero Maintenance Group., in the news release.

"The Arkansas Aeroplex is an excellent headquarters for our operations and the support of the state and local government played an important role in the decision to locate in Mississippi County," Quevedo said.

On Tuesday, Mississippi County Quorum Court approved to spend $2.75 million to lure ART to the county.

Mississippi County Judge Steve McGuire said $1 million will go for upgrading the infrastructure. The county also will give the company $175,000 a year for 10 years to cover the cost of rents on a number of building.

McGuire said the money will come from the county's half-cent sales tax earmarked for economic development.

Mississippi County's unemployment rate in January was 8.6 percent, up from 8 percent from the same month in 2007.



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