The federal government gave a $2.5 million boost Wednesday to help build new facilities at the Provo airport needed to expand an aircraft refurbishment company — and create 400 new high-paying jobs now, and up to 800 eventually.
“It’s kind of a big deal,” said Provo Airport Manager Steven Gleason. “It’s going to be spectacular for the airport. Right now we have about 650 full-time employees that work at the airport. This will take us over 1,000.”
Duncan Aviation currently operates in Provo at a temporary 15,000-square-foot hangar. A first phase of expansion will build 220,000 square feet of office and hangar space and add 400 jobs. “At eventual build-out, it will have about a 400,000-square-foot campus [on 45 acres], and anywhere from 700 to 800 jobs,” Gleason said.
The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department announced it is providing a $2.5 million loan to Provo to help install water, sewer and storm water lines along a new half-mile road to the expansion site for the company. It will serve Duncan, plus 50 adjacent acres that now lack water and sewer service.
Gleason said the Duncan expansion site is on property that the city recently bought that lacked utilities and access. He said obtaining that extra space helped Provo win a competition to house a Western hub for Duncan, one of the world’s largest privately owned jet maintenance companies.
“They customize and refurbish jets tip to tail. They do everything: paint, carpentry, design. Anything that can be done to the inside or outside of a jet, they do it,” he said.
The loan “is going to help us create 400 positions that are high-salary, skilled positions,” with more expected later.
“This investment will bring jobs, infrastructure improvements, and economic growth that will benefit the community of Provo for years to come," Eric Cobb, HUD’s Rocky Mountain deputy regional administrator, said in a prepared statement.
HUD said the average wage for employees at Duncan is expected to be between $28 and $30 an hour.
HUD said Duncan plans to invest about $80 million to build and outfit hangars.