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Canadian aircraft firm to expand Bridgeport center

Exponent Telegram photo by Austin Weiford Gov. Tomblin stands with Bombardier executives Todd Young, Chad Hill and Stephen McCoy.
Exponent Telegram photo by Austin Weiford
Gov. Tomblin stands with Bombardier executives Todd Young, Chad Hill and Stephen McCoy.

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Montreal-based aircraft manufacturing company Bombardier Commercial Aircraft on Tuesday announced plans for expansion at its existing aircraft service center in Bridgeport.

The expansion, which is expected to begin in the spring of 2017, could increase the service center’s man-hour capacity from 500,000 hours per year to 1 million and would increase the number of its maintenance lines from nine to 20.

The expansion would also double the size of the existing service center, increasing its area from 145,000 square feet to approximately 300,000 square feet.

Bryan Tucker, director of public affairs for Bombardier, said the company has not made any final decisions on which contractors will be working on the expansion project, so at this time there is no estimated cost.

Todd Young, vice president and general manager of customer services for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, said the team of employees in West Virginia is doing a fantastic job.

“Bombardier takes great pride in producing world class aircraft,” Young said. “Today we support over 3,000 aircraft that fly each and every day around the world. I’m very happy to say that our service center network has over 1,200 technicians — employees working around the clock through our network here and throughout the United States. It’s our mission to keep our aircraft flying, to keep our customers flying, and things such as the West Virginia expansion are ways that we will continue to do that and deliver the best customer experience possible for all of our operators around the world.”

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said the business friendly environment he had worked to create in West Virginia contributed to the expansion, and that it would bring much needed jobs to the state.

“Today, I am proud and excited to be here as we announce a step forward for Bombardier and the Mountain State,” Tomblin said. “Since I became governor, I have made it my priority to bring new investments and jobs to our state through new business opportunities, and by creating a climate that encourages and allows our existing businesses to grow and thrive.”

This expansion, ready to get going this spring, is expected to bring 150 new jobs to the area, Tomblin said.

“These are jobs that could not come at a better time for our state. Our economy has had a rough time over the last few years with the decline of industries that have been our backbone for economic growth and vitality for generations. Today, more and more companies like Bombardier are investing and expanding as we make further strides to diversify our economy, putting hard working West Virginians back to work and putting our communities back on strong footing.”

Tomblin said that the ambitious goals of the project, coupled with the the expected completion date being as early as 2018, showed Bombardier’s confidence and commitment to their success in West Virginia.

West Virginia State Sen. Mike Romano said he was very thankful that Bombardier had faith in their position within West Virginia, and that the expansion had involved the cooperation of both Bombardier and the government.

“This is really a partnership between government and business that we need to emulate all across the country,” Romano said. “To do business anywhere you have to be ready to do business, and that’s what we’ve shown here. That’s what West Virginia is all about.”

Staff writer Austin Weiford can be reached at 304-626-1447 or [email protected]. You can also follow him on Twitter @aweiford_theet.

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