BANGOR, Maine — A Bangor-based company that maintains and repairs aircraft should soon have the room it needs to grow.
“We’re really bursting at the seams,” C&L Aerospace CEO Chris Kilgour said during a phone interview. “Right now, we’re cramped and we can’t do much more until we get more space.”
That space appears to be on its way. C&L representatives were on hand during Tuesday night for an Airport Committee meeting to thank committee and council members for their support and provide an update on the expansion effort.
In mid-November, the council gave city officials the go-ahead to prepare to lease buildings and land to the company.
The city plans to lease C&L a pair of adjacent aircraft hangars at Bangor International Airport near Polk Street for 13 years, with an option to renew the lease. C&L would then build a 14,000-square-foot office building to connect the hangars. Bangor also would lease buildings in the area of 600 Odlin Road to the aircraft company for 15 years.
These facilities will allow the company to hire between 50 and 70 more employees. When the company opened its Bangor operation in 2010, it had 22 workers. It now employs about 90, and is looking to hire 17 aircraft mechanics and fill some other positions.
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, according to Kilgour.
The first step in the expansion will involve converting one C&L’s current hangars into an aircraft painting facility. Kilgour said his company is waiting for a final letter from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to learn whether it will receive a $579,000 grant to kick-start that project.
He expects news of the grant to come this month, and hopes to have the paint facility up and running by April 2013. The company is seeking six painters in preparation for the opening.
The leased aircraft hangars also will be updated, one to house aircraft during heavy maintenance and the other to serve as a parts warehouse, and the future office building will connect the two. In total, the expansion is expected to cost about $4 million, Kilgour said.
The extra space will allow the company, which largely services smaller regional aircraft, to work on larger planes, such as the E-170 jet.
C&L Aerospace took over Telford Aviation’s aircraft maintenance and repair operation at BIA in 2010. The community work ethic of employees made an impression on Kilgour, he said, and he eventually decided to transfer move the 17-year-old company’s global headquarters to Bangor from Brisbane, Australia.
Bangor’s location on the east coast also makes it prime real estate for attracting customers from Europe who stop in the United States for maintenance, Kilgour said.
“We’re trying to provide a one-stop shop,” where aircraft owners can stop to make a repair and have crews service and paint the plane while they’re at it. The company also distributes parts worldwide.
“They’re going to really be able to compete globally,” BIA Director Tony Caruso said after Tuesday’s committee meeting.
Kilgour credited the city with helping to make his business grow and succeed since its move to Maine.
“They’ve really stepped up, and want to make this happen,” he said.