The world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing, is expanding its operations in Jacksonville.
Through a new 25-year lease agreement with the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA), Boeing will grow its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations at its Cecil Field site, located at Cecil Airport.
The Florida Times-Union reported Thursday the deal is expected to result in Boeing adding about 400 more jobs at Cecil Airport. The average wage of the new jobs will be more than $65,000 plus benefits, JAX Chamber officials told the Jacksonville Aviation Authority board when it unanimously approved the agreement during a special meeting Thursday.
According to a Boeing press release, under the agreement, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority will construct and lease to Boeing new facilities on approximately 30 acres located on the northeast side of Cecil Airport, near Boeing’s existing MRO site. The new construction will eventually house Boeing’s on-site operations and include nearly 270,000 square feet of hangar space and more than 100,000 square feet of office and support shop space. Construction work by JAA will begin in fall 2021 with a planned commencement of operations date in January 2024.
“Since taking ownership from the Navy, the authority developed Cecil into one of the preeminent airports for aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul in the United States,” JAA CEO Mark VanLoh said in the release. “This announcement is one of the most significant in the JAA’s history and a testament to what an economic powerhouse Cecil Airport is for Northeast Florida.”
“This investment in facility improvements supports our ability to deliver on current and future defense services work at the Cecil Field site and aligns with Boeing’s infrastructure optimization efforts,” said Warren Helm, Boeing Cecil Field site leader. “We collaborate continuously with our U.S. defense customers to ensure our modification capabilities can support their readiness objectives in strategic locations around the globe. This new agreement builds upon that commitment.”
“Florida is attracting the biggest names in aerospace and this announcement with Boeing marks another milestone for the industry’s expansion in our state,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, in the release. “We congratulate Boeing and the City of Jacksonville for this important achievement, which will help sustain economic recovery in Northeast Florida at a critical time.”
According to the announcement, Boeing Cecil Field, located at Cecil Airport, is one of the company’s longstanding facilities. Since opening in 1999, its employees have maintained, modified and upgraded nearly 1,000 aircraft for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, including the F/A-18 A-D Hornet, F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler. It is home to a Flight Control Repair Center that provides structural repairs to F/A-18 A-F and EA-18G flight control surfaces, and where the Boeing team converts F/A-18 Super Hornets into flight demonstration aircraft for the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angel squadron.
Boeing’s support for the U.S. Air Force QF-16 program, which converts retired F-16s into the next generation of combat training and testing for autonomous aerial targets, is also based at Boeing Cecil Field.