Jet company to expand operations at Kinston’s Global TransPark after landing incentives

A plane takes off from the Global TransPark cargo airport in Kinston, N.C.
A plane takes off from the Global TransPark cargo airport in Kinston, N.C. AP

A newly formed jet aircraft company will hire more than 100 workers at Kinston’s Global TransPark aviation hub after receiving millions of dollars from the state.

LGM, which is creating a new company called Jetstream for the project, will hire 145 new employees in Lenoir County, according to the state’s Job Development Investment Grant. Originally built in 1944 by the Navy, the Global Transpark is an aviation hub in which the state has invested millions to attract aviation-related jobs to the Kinston area with mixed results.

The average salary for the new jobs will be $59,245 — which is higher than Lenoir County’s average wage of $35,543. Lenoir County is considered one of the most economically distressed in the state.

In return, the aircraft company will receive more than $6 million from various government entities, including $2.3 million from the JDIG program, $2 million from the Department of Transportation and $1 million from the N.C. Global TransPark Foundation, according to the JDIG agreement.

Jetstream will also invest $10.6 million in real property construction and personal property by 2020.

“The jobs and investment LGM Enterprises brings to Lenoir County will put more money in people’s pockets and help eastern North Carolina’s economy prosper,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a prepared statement. “Aviation and aerospace are one of North Carolina’s core industry sectors, and the Global TransPark is an important hub for this industry in our state.”

LGM, which operates a charter flight business as Fly Exclusive, needs to create Jetstream to handle maintenance for its expanding fleet of planes, the Economic Investment Committee said. LGM’s current fleet has 32 planes — but the company expects that number to reach 50 in the next two years.

Because of their constant use, the planes require regular paint and interior refurbishment, which is what the company Jetstream will do for LGM. Within the first 24 months, the company expects to service two to three planes per month.

Competition for the jobs was Perryville, Missouri, which had city-owned facilities that it was prepared to lease at an “extremely low rate,” according to the EIC’s executive summary of the project.

In its last meeting before the Christmas holiday, the EIC on Thursday doled out multiple incentive grants to companies across the state.

The EIC gave incentive grants to two manufacturing companies in Catawba County on Thursday.

ITG Isotope Technologies Garching, a manufacturer of isotopes for medical treatments, is a new company that will create 137 new jobs and invest $12 million in Catawba County over the next five years. The jobs will pay $71,145, which is higher than the county’s average wage of $41,531.

The state is giving ITG, which was considering locating in Aurora, Colorado, a JDIG worth $1.7 million. Catawba County is also giving the company $1.1 million.

Adhesive tape maker Shurtape Technologies has promised to create 100 new jobs and invest $31.4 million in Catawba County in return for $714,000 from the state and $1.2 million from the county and the town of Catawba.

The jobs will pay on average $40,098, which is just below the county’s average of $41,531. Competition for the jobs came from Greer, S.C., and Spartanburg, S.C.

Additionally, Cognizant, an IT and consulting firm in Charlotte, will retain 2,776 jobs in Mecklenburg County and hire 300 more workers over the next five years, in exchange for state incentives. The state will give the company a JDIG worth $2.4 million and the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County will chip in around $139,000.

The jobs will have an average wage of $68,317 — slightly higher than the county’s average wage of $65,285. The company was considering locating jobs in Phoenix and Tampa, which both offered $4 million in incentives, according to an executive summary of the grant.

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Zachery Eanes is the Innovate Raleigh reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He covers technology, startups and main street businesses, biotechnology, and education issues related to those areas.