March 26, 2013
By Matt Augustine
Starting soon Jacksonville airport will be producing planes for the U.S. Air Force as Brazilian airline company Embraer cut the ribbon on its new production hangar at the Jacksonville International Airport on Tuesday. It's all part of a contract between the USAF and Embraer's prime contractor Sierra Nevada that's worth $427 million and, according to Jacksonville mayor Alvin Brown, has room for growth.
"It's exciting to think that this $427 million contract has the potential to grow to $950 million," said Mayor Brown during his remarks.
The facility will produce 20 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, which will provide support, recon, and training to the Afghan military as the U.S. draws down troops there as part of the Air Force’s Light Air Support program. Mayor Brown saying Jacksonville’s focus on the military makes it the perfect place for the contract.
"25 percent of our population are military veterans and not only that but they have the skills and experience to do [the job]."
All in all 50 jobs will be created at the leadership level as well as in manufacturing, assembly, and quality. Getting the contract was a big part of a business trip that Mayor Brown and Florida Governor Rick Scott took to Brazil last year. The governor joked that Embraer should just up and move its whole operation to Florida.
"You can move all of them here, we like them here. No income tax, right to work state, all these great things."
Embraer says it’ll start production here in the next six months or so and must deliver the first Super Tucano by the beginning of next summer.