In early November, Gov. Ernie Fletcher and Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Gene Strong announced a new aerospace component manufacturing facility will be established in Somerset to produce aircraft components for Schweizer Aircraft, a subsidiary of Sikorsky Aircraft. Schweizer has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Summit Aviation, an industry leader in aircraft modification and maintenance technology, to open and operate the facility.
Economic Development Commissioner John McCarty joined local and company officials in Somerset today for a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the new facility, which will create up to 100 new jobs and represents a $1.9 million investment to the commonwealth.
"I’m delighted to welcome the addition of this new aerospace component facility to Kentucky," said Gov. Fletcher. "This new investment and the addition of up to 100 jobs will provide a significant economic impact to the community. I know the company will find Somerset to have the right mix of a productive workforce, pro-business climate and positive leadership on the federal, state and local level."
Summit Aviation plans to lease a 15,000 square-foot hangar at the Somerset-Pulaski County Airport and possibly expand the hangar by an additional 30,000 square feet. The operation will provide aviation modification, fabrication and repair operations.
"Schweizer Aircraft's business is expanding at an exponential rate," said Paul Schweizer, president of Schweizer Aircraft. "We see the Somerset operation as critical to our needs for increased production capacity. After more than three years of planning and hard work, it is very satisfying to make this announcement today and to look forward to production starting in Somerset early in 2007."
"We at Summit Aviation greatly appreciate the outstanding support we have received from state and local officials, the Somerset Community College, Cumberland’s work force network and others in the area," said Finn Neilsen, president of Summit Aviation. "There is no doubt in our mind the talented people in Somerset will make the endeavor a success."
In 2005, Belcan Engineering opened a new engineering design center in Lexington also to fulfill a contract with Sikorsky Aircraft. Today that center works on programs vital to the nation’s defense. The new facility will produce components for Schweizer products including helicopters, special mission surveillance aircraft and unmanned air vehicles as well as the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
"I am very happy today with the announcement from Sikorsky Aircraft, Schweizer Aircraft and Summit Aviation to locate in our community," said Somerset Mayor JP Wiles. "This will allow our students who train for aviation to stay home and have good paying jobs. We are thankful to everyone who helped with this project."
Based in Middletown, Delaware, Summit Aviation, Inc. is a full service FAA certificated repair station supplying private and corporate aircraft owners with quality repair and maintenance since 1960. The company is also an authorized Cessna Single Engine/Multi Engine/Propjet Service Station and a Bell 206, 407 Service Facility.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved Summit Aviation for tax benefits up to $1.9 million under the Kentucky Industrial Development Act (KIDA), an incentive program designed to attract and expand industrial investment to the state.
A community profile for Pulaski County may be found at the following link: http://www.thinkkentucky.com/edis/cmnty/cw/cw116/Location.htm.
The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for creating new jobs and new investment in the commonwealth. New business investment in Kentucky in 2005 totaled more than $1.6 billion with the creation of over 16,700 new jobs. Information on available development sites, workforce training, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other resources is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com.