A global aviation company has chosen Teesside International Airport as its location for a European aircraft maintenance base, potentially creating a significant number of new high skilled jobs.
After considering a number of possible locations across the continent, Willis Asset Management Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Willis Lease Finance Corporation (NASDAQ: WLFC), has agreed to the terms of a lease with the airport to use lease Hangar 1 and Hangar 1A as a base to allow it to house aircraft and parts while carrying out maintenance, storage and disassembly of a wide variety of commercial aircraft types.
Phase 1 of the development could see the creation of approximately 20 highly skilled engineering and management jobs. The deal includes further opportunity for expansion in Phase 2, with the possible development of additional hangar facilities and additional jobs.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This is a fantastic coup for our airport, with Willis choosing Teesside ahead of other locations across Europe thanks to all of the benefits we currently offer, and our future plans.
“We’ve already secured new routes, but I’ve always said that it’s not just about delivering affordable flights to popular destinations – we need to support business and drive investment. Now we’ve secured the investment of a global aviation firm to help us deliver on our ambitions for the airport.
“Alongside the new state-of-the-art logistics and manufacturing park on the airport’s Southside, this development will act as a catalyst for even more success and shows we’re getting noticed by leading businesses on an international scale.
“When I bought the airport and saved it from closure, people said what I wanted to achieve couldn’t be done. Well, we are doing it and, even in these most difficult of times we are attracting investment and jobs to this vital piece of infrastructure for our region.”
Garry Failler, Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Willis Lease Finance Corporation said: “We’ve been very impressed with how quickly things have progressed at Teesside International Airport and their forward-thinking, as well as their drive to attract business from outside of the region. We see significant potential in the market segment at Teesside and we are excited to start working with the airport and its partners going forward.”
The announcement will complement previously revealed plans to develop a £200million major logistics and manufacturing park at the airport’s Southside. Infrastructure work has begun on the 270-acre site and, once complete, it has the potential to create 4,400 jobs and deliver £3million per year to reinvest into the airport.
Willis Lease Finance Corporation is headquartered in Florida, USA, and is a provider of aviation services specialising in leasing spare commercial aircraft engines and other aircraft related equipment to commercial airlines, aircraft engine manufacturers, and maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities worldwide. In addition, Willis is also a leading provider of aftermarket engine material as well as consultancy, technical services and maintenance to the aviation sector, with regional representatives serving major aviation hubs around the world.