Jacksonville, Florida, March 26, 2013 – Embraer President and CEO Frederico Curado, joined by Florida Governor Rick Scott, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and Representatives Corrine Brown and Ander Crenshaw, today marked the opening of the facility where the company will assemble the aircraft for the U.S. Air Force’s Light Air Support (LAS) program. More than 200 local business people, public officials and news media attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 40,000-square-foot hangar at Jacksonville International Airport.
Through the LAS program, Embraer and its prime contractor Sierra Nevada Corporation will support more than 1,400 jobs with over 100 companies throughout the United States.
“Today, we mark another achievement in Embraer’s growing presence in the United States and the State of Florida, not only with our expansion in Jacksonville, but also with our first participation in a contract to supply high tech equipment and services to the USAF. We are honored by this opportunity and ready to get to work,” said Frederico Curado, Embraer S.A. President and CEO.
Embraer, with its U.S. headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, currently employs more than 1,200 people in the United States. The Jacksonville site joins recent expansion of the company’s operations in Melbourne, Florida where, in 2011, it opened a production facility and Global Customer Center for its Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 executive jets. In 2012, the company broke ground in Melbourne for a new Engineering and Technology Center that will employ 200 engineers.
“With this manufacturing facility, Embraer will create 50 new jobs for Jacksonville families, which is great news. Thanks to our business friendly strategy of keeping taxes low, making targeted investments and supporting education, these 50 new jobs will build on the more than 280,000 private sector jobs that have been created in the last two years,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott.
“Jacksonville’s exceptionally talented workforce will be assembling the world’s most capable light air support aircraft with parts from suppliers across the United States. In terms of a ‘win-win’ it doesn’t get better than this,” said Congressman Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), who represents Florida’s 4th congressional district.
“At a time when many companies are outsourcing, Embraer is insourcing and creating high-quality jobs right here in Northeast Florida; I commend them for this action,” said Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-FL), who represents Florida’s 5th congressional district.
With the support of the State of Florida, the City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Airport Authority, efforts already have begun to prepare the facility for industrial operations.
“Embraer’s success in Jacksonville speaks volumes about the direction of our economy and our city’s role as one of America’s most military-friendly cities,” said Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. “This project promotes economic security at home and global security for all. I’m proud of the teamwork that helped to make it happen and I look forward to working with Embraer for many years to come.”
“I know many of the leaders at Embraer, and they have created an outstanding global aviation company in both the commercial and military business sectors,” said JAX Chamber interim president and CEO and JAXUSA Partnership president Jerry Mallot. “I am excited to be here today to celebrate the opening of an Embraer facility in Jacksonville and the creation of new jobs for our region.”
On Febuary 27, the U.S. Air Force awarded the LAS contract to Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply 20 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, as well as ground-based training devices, pilot and maintenance training, and logistical support. The initial 20 aircraft will be used to provide light air support, reconnaissance and training capabilities to the Afghanistan military. The facility in Jacksonville will perform pre-equipping, mechanical assembly, structural assembly, systems installation and testing, and flight testing of A-29 aircraft.
Delivery of the first American-made A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is scheduled to take place next summer.