Global TransPark adds Jetstream Aviation
A new tenant that paints and refurbishes aircraft says it will help attract other businesses to the North Carolina Global TransPark in Lenoir County. LGM Enterprises, a jet-charter service owned by Kinston native Jim Segrave, is launching Jetstream Aviation at a new 32,000-square-foot facility.
“We think we can use this project as bait to recruit other [maintenance and repair operators]” that benefit from being near an electrostatic paint and coating plant, says Allen Thomas, the TransPark’s executive director.
Funding for the $10.5 million project, which will include two hangars and offices, comes from a variety of sources, including nearly $5 million in private investment and bank financing; $2 million from the N.C. Department of Transportation Division of Aviation; and $1 million from the TransPark’s foundation.
LGM says it expects to create 145 jobs over the next few years. It had considered a Missouri site before selecting Lenoir County. If those job goals are met, the state has offered as much as $2.3 million in incentives over 12 years.
Segrave started a private-jet charter business in Kinston in 2000, then sold it a decade later to Delta Air Lines for an undisclosed sum. After his noncompete agreement expired, he founded LGM and its flyExclusive service, which now has nearly 40 Cessna Citation jets that can haul six to nine passengers each. LGM expects to add another 10 or so jets this year, Thomas says.
As commercial airports become more congested, private jet service is increasingly in demand by high net-worth individuals, families and business executives who don’t want to invest in their own aircraft.
Raising the TransPark’s profile is a key mandate for Thomas, a former Greenville mayor who has led the site for 1½ years. “I think a lot of people had thought that the Global TransPark had gone away,” he says.
The state-owned project opened in 1991 on an airfield built in 1944 that had been used for military training through the 1950s. It later became the Kinston Regional Jetport.
Organizers projected the TransPark would create thousands of jobs in a region long dominated by tobacco and pork production. But it has never met projections despite $200 million in state funding. Its largest tenant is Spirit AeroSystems, which employs about 600 people making wing and fuselage parts for Airbus jets.
“This is an important project for the Global TransPark because we believe it will attract even more, better paying jobs to eastern North Carolina,” Gov. Roy Cooper said at the project’s announcement in December. “Having grown up in eastern North Carolina, I know what a big deal it is to announce a project that is going to bring jobs with an average salary over $59,000.”
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