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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Airplane manufacturer Vulcanair adding 33 jobs at Bladen plant

A small-airplane manufacturer announced plans Wednesday to open a plant in southeast North Carolina that will employ 33 workers when it opens in 2025.

Vulcanair North America will use a building at the new Elizabethtown Corporate Airpark in Bladen County that will be across from a 5,000-foot runway. The 36,000-square-foot plant could expand up to 80,000 square feet.

The jobs will have an average salary of $56,061 in areas such as manufacturing, mechanics, structural technicians, aircraft inspectors and avionics installers. The average salary in Bladen County is $41,913.

Miami-based Ameravia is the importer of Vulcanair planes in the United States. The Vulcanair V1.0 plane has been in production since the 1960s and is a four-seat plane used by flight schools and private businesses. Vulcanair S.p.A. is based in Italy.

The facility will have the annual capability of manufacturing 96 planes, which cost about $450,000. Ameravia says it has orders for 26 planes.

Bladen County’s Bloomin Agri-Industrial, which promotes economic development, will invest $3 million to design and build the facility.

A performance-based grant of $100,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help Sovereign Aerospace establish its manufacturing facility. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and create jobs.

Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require matching participation from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

The small planes built by Vulcanair have significant demand from U.S. customers, says Ken Hadaway, the chief operating officer of Sovereign Aerospace-Bladen, which provides flight instruction and general aviation maintenance at the Curtis L. Brown Jr. Airfield in Elizabethtown. Sovereign Aerospace is an inaugural occupant of the new Corporate Airpark and is partnering with Vulcanair.

“The support and partnership with Ameravia, the sole-source importer of the Vulcanair aircraft, has proven to be able to meet the demand and reduce the supply change logistical stress that is rampant within the aviation industry,” said Hardaway.

North Carolina’s best-known aircraft maker is HondaJet at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro. Colorado-based Boom Supersonic is building an assembly plant, also near PTI.

Chris Roush
Chris Roush
Chris Roush is executive editor of Business North Carolina. He can be reached at croush@businessnc.com.

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