The Boeing Co. said Monday it will move an aircraft repair operation from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport to Florida, which will involve a transfer of about 60 jobs.
The facility repairs flight control surfaces such as ailerons and horizontal stabilizers for the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet jets, a fighter and attack aircraft operated by the U.S. Navy and Marines.
The Mesa facility is being moved to Cecil Field near Jacksonville, Fla. to combine it with other Hornet repair and upgrade operations and place all of Boeing’s Hornet repair work in one location, said company officials.
The move is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
“We are always looking for ways to reduce costs for our customer (the U.S. Navy), and operating one facility instead of two does just that,” said Larry Sellman, Boeing’s director of F/A-18 Product Support, in a written statement. “We value the work the team has done at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway, but this difficult decision made the most business sense for the customer and our organization.”
The company is offering to relocate Mesa employees to Florida if they want to move with the work, said Boeing spokesman Bradley Mudd. About 10 to 15 have accepted the offer, he said.
Others are being offered assistance in applying for jobs at the company’s Apache attack helicopter operations at Mesa’s Falcon Field or at other Boeing sites, he said.
The Gateway shop repaired flight-control structures that were damaged in accidents or wear and tear from operation of the jet fighters. The facility has patched thousands of flight-control surfaces for every model of the Hornet, the company said.
Cecil Field, meanwhile, has upgraded nearly 600 older versions of the aircraft to more modern configurations. Boeing will continue to have a small presence at Gateway, conducting test flights of the Apache and other Boeing aircraft.
The Hornet move, however, will end Boeing’s presence in leased property at Gateway, said airport spokesman Brian Sexton.
He said the move didn’t come as a surprise, because Boeing officials had already indicated they didn’t intend to renew their lease, which expires in February 2010.
The company has occupied more than 34,000 square feet in an airport-owned building for its Hornet work, and Sexton said the Gateway authority has already assembled a team to market the space to other tenants.