Laurentian Aerospace executives welcome their project’s inclusion in the region’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative submission. Laurentian Aerospace Vice Chairman Andrew Edwards said the submission is a good indicator that the project still has potential despite its long delay.
“I can confirm that Laurentian Aerospace has worked closely with the North Country Regional Economic Development Council on their submission pursuant to the Upstate Revitalization Initiative,” Edwards said. “The council would not have included the Laurentian project in their submission unless they expected the project to proceed.”
If the region wins one of the three $500 million awards in the Revitalization Initiative competition, Laurentian would be in line for a $50 million investment toward the $241 million project.
NEEDS LEAD INVESTOR
The proposal calls for a 273,000-square-foot, two-bay hangar for maintenance, repair and overhaul of wide body jets; it would be located at Plattsburgh International Airport.
It was first announced in 2006, but the company struggled to find a lead investor as the international financial crisis hit in 2007-8.
Laurentian officials announced in 2011 that they had secured funding with Verdant Capital Group.
Verdant officials attended that press conference and confirmed they had agreed to provide an interim funding package to allow work to commence.
Testing and site preparation work began but soon stopped when the promised funding failed to materialize. Company officials have continued to search for a lead investor in the ensuing years and have been in discussions with a new firm in that regard for some time, Edwards said.
“I can also confirm that Laurentian has made progress on the financing of the project, but we are not yet in a position to make any specific comments,” he said.
‘PLATTSBURGH MAKES SENSE’
Edwards said the conditions that make the proposal feasible remain in play.
He said more than 50 percent of the wide-body aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul work continues to be performed outside the United States.
“With the rapid increase of wage rates, particularly in China, the economic rationale to have maintenance done overseas is rapidly evaporating,” Edwards said.
A facility to do that work in Plattsburgh would be an attractive alternative for a variety of reasons, one of which is its location in the midst of major airports in northeastern North America.
Laurentian continues to have the exclusive rights to the laser-guided, computerized docking and work station system developed by Contec Multidocking, Edwards said. The only other facilities that use that system are owned by Emirates Airline in Dubai.
That system allows scaffolding to be moved to within 1 centimeter of the aircraft in less than an hour, with multiple work stations and equipment already in place. That drastically reduces the amount of time each plane would be out of service and thus save clients money.
Edwards said Cianbro remains the firm’s general contractor, and GHD remains its engineering firm, as they have been since the project was first proposed.