BANGOR, Maine — Bangor International Airport has received a nearly $580,000 grant to push forward the expansion of C&L Aerospace, an aircraft maintenance company, bringing as many as 70 high-wage jobs to Bangor.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration announced the award on Monday.
C&L Aerospace came to Bangor in 2010 and moved its headquarters from Australia to Bangor the next year. When the company started operations in Bangor, it had 22 workers. It now employs about 90, and is looking to hire 17 aircraft mechanics and fill some other positions.
The $579,000 grant will allow the airport to renovate a 17,000-square-foot hangar into an aircraft painting facility, improve the boiler room and install new air handling and water pretreatment equipment, according to the EDA.
As part of an overall expansion project not covered by the grant, the company plans to build a 14,000-square-foot office building to connect a pair of leased hangars on Polk Street. C&L will also lease buildings in the area of 600 Odlin Road.
These facilities will allow the company to hire between 50 and 70 additional employees.
Airport officials didn’t immediately return messages requesting comment Monday afternoon.
“The city has been great over this whole process,” Chris Kilgour, C&L’s CEO, wrote in an email Monday. “They were willing to do whatever it took to help expand C&L to enable additional jobs to be created. … Bangor has turned out to be a great place to locate my business and have the available resources to expand.”
The new positions won’t be filled all at once, but the company will see a “steady expansion” over the next three to five years, Kilgour has said, adding that the improvements to the company should make it a “one-stop shop” for aircraft owners across the nation and globe.
In October 2012, after the city applied for the grant, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins wrote the EDA in support of the project.
“In recent years, [Bangor] has made noteworthy strides toward attracting private investment and economic development,” Collins said in a statement Monday after the grant announcement. “This grant will help bring many needed jobs to the Bangor area and provide substantial economic benefits to the region for years to come.”
“The Obama administration is committed to promoting economic development and job creation in communities nationwide,” Matt Erskine, federal deputy assistant secretary for economic development, said Monday. “By funding critical renovations to Bangor International Airport’s commercial infrastructure, this EDA grant will support the growth of high-skilled jobs and catalyze economic growth throughout eastern Maine.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District took Erskine on a tour of the C&L facility and project site in April, along with Bangor’s economic development and airport staff, which “made an impression” on Erskine, according to the EDA news release.
“Smart and targeted investments like these are exactly how the federal government can help to jump-start local economies across the country,” U.S. Sen. Angus King said Monday in a statement.