North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2017

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44 N o r t h C a r o l i N a E C o N o m i C D E v E l o p m E N t G u i D E Since then, the state has completed part of a 44-mile Greensboro Urban Loop on the eastern side of PTI, making it much simpler for suppliers and travelers to access the airport. Cessna opened an MRO facility for its Citation line of planes during the mid-1990s. FedEx invested $500 million in the construction of its mid-Atlantic hub at PTI, which necessitated the building of a third runway that permits simultaneous landings and takeoffs, multiplying the airport's traffic capacity. PTI, now up to 4,000 acres, employs 2,200 people, pays direct wages of $116 million annually, and generates $55 million in state and local taxes, according to a 2016 report from the NCDOT. Its total economic impact is just shy of $2 billion a year. The airport has become a valuable economic-development tool, according to Stan Kelly, president and CEO of the Piedmont Triad Partnership. "And it is becoming an even more important asset," he says. Backing up Kelly's words are two recent developments. First, Honda Aircraft Co., which came to PTI in 2009, recently received Federal Aviation Administration certification for its HondaJet light twinjet plane, meaning production is projected to ramp up at its 680,000-square-foot research, design and manufacturing center at PTI. The company has invested more than $160 million in its Greensboro world headquarters, where it employs more than 1,700 people. Second, HAECO Americas, the MRO formerly called TIMCO that debuted at PTI back in 1990, broke ground on its fifth PTI hangar in August 2016. The new maintenance facility will stand 250,000 square feet and allow HAECO to work on the largest aircraft in the skies — as well as ones that haven't even taken off yet. In 2014, Hong Kong-based HAECO Group acquired TIMCO, turning the newly christened HAECO Americas into a global operation just as likely to repair an airliner registered in Qatar as one domiciled in the United States. Established in 1950, the parent company employs 17,000 people around the world through its 17 subsidiaries and affiliates. "We're one of the only companies in the world who can do everything from the design, the engineering, the manufacturing of the product, the installation, and the maintenance of the aircraft," says David Kelly, vice president of marketing and strategy for HAECO Americas. "We're able to do that by growing our footprint in North America, specifically here in the Triad." • • • rom the top-floor boardroom of Guilford Technical Community College's Aviation Center III building — a 42,000-square-foot training facility that sits on a 20-acre site next to PTI — Nicolas Yale has an easy view of the Cessna Citation Service Center. To the right stands Honda's production facility. On the left, HAECO's four (soon to be five) hangars loom. One street separates GTCC from the airport's largest employers. "It's kind of interesting that they're that close," says Yale, the school's director of aviation programs. But it's also intentional. GTCC launched its first aviation program in 1969, when the former Piedmont Airlines was still flying out of PTI. The school now offers four different courses of study: aviation electronics, career pilot, aviation management and aviation- systems technology. During the 2014-15 school year, GTCC's aviation programs boasted 655 enrollees, up 32% from the previous year. "Not only do you have the property [at PTI]," says Brent Christensen, president and CEO of the Greensboro Partnership, the city's chief economic- F Flushing, N.Y.-based FlightSafety International Inc. provides pilot training in full-motion flight simulators that were designed with Honda Aircraft Co. engineers, test pilots and managers. PROVIDED BY HONDA AIRCRAFT

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