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Boeing Begins Building Aircraft Repair Complex at Jacksonville, Fla., Airport

Wed November 03, 2021 - Southeast Edition

A rendering shows the planned hangar that Boeing will lease at Cecil Airport on Jacksonville's Westside. (Jacksonville Aviation Authority rendering).
A rendering shows the planned hangar that Boeing will lease at Cecil Airport on Jacksonville's Westside. (Jacksonville Aviation Authority rendering).

Boeing, one of the world's leading aerospace and U.S. defense contractors, broke ground Oct. 28 to begin construction of a new 370,000-sq.-ft. maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Jacksonville, Fla.'s Cecil Airport.

When finished, Boeing noted in a press release, the new MRO complex will better support the company's ability to deliver readiness outcomes for its U.S. government customers.

The construction will build eight new hangars, additional workspace and offices where Boeing maintainers, engineers and data analysts will support U.S. Navy and Air Force aircraft.

The facility's proximity to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Boeing's Training Systems Center of Excellence in west Jacksonville, and local academic institutions make it an ideal leading location for the development and delivery of innovative product support, underpinned by collaborative research and engineering, the news release stated.

The Florida Times-Union reported that the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) is leasing approximately 30 acres of property northeast of Cecil Airport at 5868 Approach Road.

The recent groundbreaking ceremony also celebrated the 25-year lease agreement between Boeing and the JAA. Under the accord, the JAA will construct and lease to Boeing for the new facilities, near the defense contractor's existing MRO site.

Construction is anticipated to be completed in 2023.

"This is the largest development project in the history of Cecil Airport," said Mark VanLoh, CEO of the JAA. "Once completed, Boeing's new facility will bring more high-paying jobs to the region, elevate northeast Florida's standing in the aerospace industry and position Cecil as one of the country's best airports for aviation-related development."

Homeland Preparedness News reported that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also was on hand for the event, where he told the crowd the groundbreaking serves as a milestone in the state's role of supporting missions fulfilled by the nation's men and women in uniform.

"Boeing's decision to invest in new facilities at Jacksonville's Cecil Airport to provide sustainment for the military through modification, repair and overhaul affirms our state's role as the leader in aerospace and will result in the creation of new, high-skilled jobs that will enhance our workforce," he said.

Boeing's President and CEO Ted Colbert expects that workforce to consist of more than 300 new people.

"With this physical growth comes the ability to meet the evolving needs of our nation's servicemen and women," Colbert noted in the Boeing news release. "The Boeing team in Jacksonville are experts at performing complex military aircraft modifications, and we're excited to partner with our customer to tackle what's next in the MRO space, like using data analytics to help minimize aircraft downtime, or applying digital tools to optimize and integrate our support approach."

Since opening its existing MRO facilities at Cecil Airport in 1999, Boeing technicians have maintained, modified and upgraded 1,030 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, the company noted.

Boeing's skilled team of experts also converts F/A-18 Super Hornets into flight demonstration aircraft for the U.S. Navy's Blue Angel squadron as well as modifies retired F-16s into the next generation of autonomous aerial targets for the U.S. Air Force. In addition, the Jacksonville facility is home to a Flight Control Repair Center that provides structural repairs to F/A-18 A-F and EA-18G flight control surfaces.

In September, Boeing also won a potential $23.8 billion contract to continue performing critical sustainment activities for the global C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, according to a report from AirForce Technology, an independent news source.

In its role as a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures, and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries.

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