New airport project announcement from Bay EDA

It looks like more jobs are coming to Bay County. A big announcement was made today at the Bay County Economic Alliance Meeting.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 11:05 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 11:55 AM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Growth in the local economy is expected to reach new heights in Panama City.

On Wednesday, the Bay Economic Development Alliance (Bay EDA) announced in their meeting that they would be starting a new project with Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP).

Premier Aviation, an international aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul company is planning to open its second location in Bay County’s local airport as part of “Project Maple”. This would hopefully bring over $32.5 million of capital investment and create 250 high-wage jobs to the area in the next four years.

“Today we only have line maintenance, so if something breaks, they fix it,” Parker McClellan said, Executive Director of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. “This is a company that does detailed, dives into the airplane, takes it apart, and puts it back together.”

As part of the effort to prepare new hires, Haney Technical College is also joining the project by implementing tailored courses in aviation maintenance.

This new location would include a 100,000-square-foot hanger added to ECP.

Premier Aviation expects to add 250 new jobs to the area. Premier also states wages are set to be over 115% of the Bay County average, specifically $13.75 million of private payroll would be added to the region annually.

“We’ve been working on this project for two years and it was very competitive,” said Becca Hardin, President of Bay County Economic Alliance. “This company could’ve gone anywhere in the United States.”

The company states they will work alongside CareerSource Gulf Coast for hiring and recruiting plans.

Construction is expected to start fairly soon and be completed by Summer 2025.

Nonprofit Triumph Gulf Coast, a non-profit responsible for the economic damage funds from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, will handle half of the funds.

The other half will be from Space Florida and Premier. Space Florida will own the facility and long-term lease it to Premier.