BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An aviation company will create at least 200 new jobs through an expansion in central Alabama.
Al.com reports that Stewart Industries International has leased the former Kaiser Aircraft facility adjacent to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The company said this week they expect to provide maintenance support to the east coast-based aviation industry.
Graham & Co. was first hired in 2014 to market and lease the 1.7 million-square-foot (157.9-million-square-meter) facility and its 180 acres with direct runway access at the airport. The facility was also formerly Alabama Aircraft Industries, which Kaiser Aircraft bought out of bankruptcy in September 2011.
"Birmingham is excited to welcome Stewart Industries into our city," Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said in a statement. "Stewart Industries will not only help Birmingham to make a mark in the aviation industry but open the door for hundreds of jobs as well."
Stewart Industries International Birmingham president Dale Mullinax said the new facility could employ up to 500 people within a year.
"We have reviewed many proposals during the three and one-half years that our facility has been closed, but our objectives have now been met with the arrival of Stewart Industries International," said Doris Sewell, chief executive officer of Kaiser Aircraft Industries.
Sewell said Stewart will give hiring preference to former Kaiser Aircraft employees. The company will reinstate Kaiser's former program of training inner city school candidates for the aviation industry.
"This type of quality tenant brings renewed aviation activity to this unique facility as well as desirable employment opportunities to our community," said Michael Bell, chairman of the Birmingham Airport Authority board of directors. "It also demonstrates a level of proactive collaboration and leadership by many stakeholders that made this welcomed announcement possible. This is yet another testament that BHM is open for business."