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Aerospace Jobs Have Smooth Landing in Pensacola

by FloridaWest News




When VT MAE Aerospace started looking around for a place to expand – it didn’t take them long to figure out that Pensacola had all the right elements for their aviation operation to take off.

The aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company has been in business in nearby Mobile, Ala., for more than 25 years and found Pensacola the perfect place to open a companion facility.

“We immediately felt at home in Pensacola,” Bill Hafner, President of VT MAE said.  “The strong military presence in Northwest Florida means there is a readily available workforce of disciplined employees who know how to work on aircraft.”

Working with Florida West, the city of Pensacola and the Pensacola International Airport, Hafner and his team quickly discovered a community ready, willing and able to help VT MAE get their new operation up and running.

Expected to begin operations in 2018, the company is building a 173,000-square-foot, $46-million facility at the Pensacola airport which is expected to employ more than 400 aircraft workers.

“Hopefully VT MAE is the first step in expanding aviation jobs in our area,” Scott Luth, CEO of FloridaWest said.  “With a knowledgeable workforce, a climate that makes flying possible year-round and our proximity to the military, we believe aerospace companies like VT MAE can be very successful here.”

Hafner cited the cooperation and warm reception from the city, the airport, FloridaWest and the citizens of Pensacola as a big part of the reason for locating their expansion in Pensacola.

“Everyone was willing to help with incentives, grants, regulatory guidance, setting up workforce training and jobs fair,” Hafner said.  Every time we needed something, the community stepped up and made it happen.”

The new facility will be state-of-the art and able to service Airbus A-320 type planes as well as Boeing 757s and 777s.

Luth said adding 400 aviation jobs to the local economy will be a big boost.

“We feel like most of these jobs will be filled with local citizens,” Luth said.  “Pensacola State College and several schools in the Escambia County School District are providing job training specifically aimed at VT MAE’s operations. It’s a community partnership that will mean good paying jobs in a growing industry to our citizens – and a great opportunity for those coming out of the military with aircraft maintenance skills.”

Luth said the new jobs will also help diversify the job market in Pensacola and spur other aviation-related companies to take a look at Pensacola.

“The aviation sector is getting a great foothold along the entire Gulf Coast region and we hope VT MAE is just the start for us.”


VT MAE Aerospace Expansion FACTS:

Location: Pensacola International Airport
Facility:  173,000-square-foot MRO Facility on 19 acres
Jobs:  400
Annual Salaries: $30,000-58,000
Investment:  $46 million
Operational:  2018