Governor Robert Bentley, House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield joined company and community leaders in Dothan Friday to announce that Commercial Jet will invest $12 million to open a new 400,000 square-foot facility at Dothan Regional Airport in Dale County. The facility will employ hundreds of people.
The opening of the new facility will more than triple the company's capacity to provide freighter conversion and MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) services.
"I am proud that the State of Alabama could play a key role in providing hundreds of new jobs for the people of Dothan and the Wiregrass area," Governor Bentley said. "We know that Alabama is the ideal location for the aerospace and aviation industries. This announcement further strengthens our emerging role as an aerospace leader in the Southeast. Nothing is more important to me than creating new jobs, and we will continue our work to recruit companies and help them succeed."
"Because of hard work and a committed, skilled workforce, Alabama has enjoyed tremendous success in industrial recruitment and job creation over the past few years, and today's announcement is proof we are not ready to rest on our laurels," said Speaker Hubbard (R-Auburn). "If Alabama is going to remain competitive and continue its impressive track record, we must continue to focus on creating the 21st Century jobs that companies like Commercial Jet and fields like the aerospace industry provide. With vision and determination, I believe we can make the Wiregrass and the rest of Alabama a major aerospace hub for the nation."
Secretary Canfield expressed his appreciation to the company for its decision to locate the facility in the Dale County area and said that the announcement is another indication that Alabama is well on its way to meeting its targeted industry goals set forth in the state's economic development plan, Accelerate Alabama.
The Dothan Houston County Airport Authority has initiated the construction, to be completed in stages with the final building to be delivered in October this year. "Our new facility will broaden our ability to deliver high-quality integrated aviation services to commercial airlines and aircraft owners and operators," said David M. Sandri, company president.
Commercial Jet's new maintenance facility includes multiple hangars, back shops, stores and offices, with extensive apron space for aircraft parking and servicing.
John Schildroth, vice president and general manager for the Dothan facility, said Commercial Jet plans to hire several hundred trained and experienced aircraft technicians in the local market within the next few years.
"We are already getting a flow of new orders for our new facility, which will be open for business as soon as May of this year," Schildroth said.
The company said state officials and local civic and business leaders have given staunch support to Commercial Jet's expansion plans.
"This was all made possible through their efforts," said Sandri, citing Governor Bentley, Speaker Hubbard, House Representative Paul Lee, Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield, Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz, the Dale County Commission, the Houston County Commission, the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation, the Dothan Houston Airport Authority, the Dothan Chamber of Commerce and others.