BRIDGEPORT – Gov. Jim Justice joined executives with MHI RJ Aviation Group (MHIRJ), along with other local officials and MHIRJ employees, for an groundbreaking ceremony today to celebrate the expansion of MHIRJ’s MRO hangars at the company’s West Virginia Service Center location at North Central West Virginia Airport in Bridgeport.
MHIRJ signed a contract last month, investing $20 million to expand the facility by 100,000 square feet and adding two hangars. Construction is expected to be finalized and the expansion operational in approximately 18 months.
“Today’s launch of MHIRJ’s site expansion at North Central Regional Airport is truly exciting and again proves that West Virginia is the best place to grow a business,” Gov. Justice said. “When a company is able to keep growing as MHIRJ has done over the past couple years – adding hundreds of new jobs, expanding its operations, and building out its facilities – it’s the sign of great company leadership and puts a spotlight on the profitable business environment we have built in West Virginia. The economic ripple effects of this continued growth are going to bring all kinds of goodness to north central West Virginia, and I could not be prouder that MHIRJ continues to deepen its roots in our great state.”
Gov. Justice went on to note that the West Virginia Aeronautics Commission recently completed an economic impact study on airports, explaining that MHIRJ and North Central West Virginia Airport play a pivotal role in the state’s economy.
“Across West Virginia, there are over 10,729 jobs and over $1.63 billion in business revenues associated with aviation,” Gov. Justice said. “The North Central West Virginia Airport is the largest contributor to this success, has more than 2,345 of those jobs and over $775 million in business revenues.”
Several dignitaries also attended the event, including West Virginia Senator Michael Romano, representatives of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, and U.S. Representative David McKinley’s offices, Harrison County Commissioner David Hinckle, and West Virginia Aeronautics Commission Director Sean Hill. MHIRJ Executives and several hundred shop floor employees were also present at the ceremony. The groundbreaking ceremony also included the unveiling of the site expansion mockup.
“This is a significant milestone for MHIRJ as it reinforces the growth of our business. As the largest MRO serving the CRJ Series platform, we aim at creating continued value for our customers by exploring opportunities that will allow us to elevate our service offering, diversify our capabilities and expand our infrastructure,” said Ismail Mokabel, Senior Vice President, Head of Aftermarket.
“Mitsubishi’s expansion at the North Central Regional Airport Aerotech Business Park is another round of fantastic news for the North Central Regional Airport and our entire state,” said Senator Manchin. “Work to expand Mitsubishi’s hangars will begin soon and will create more than 300 new jobs in the process. I applaud everyone who has worked hard to ensure this process was completed quickly despite months of delay. I am excited for Mitsubishi’s investment in the new Aerotech Business Park and the growth it will bring for our regional economy and workforce.”
“Today’s announcement of further investment by Mitsubishi in West Virginia means more jobs and more growth for our state,” Senator Capito said. “The local leadership of the Benedum Airport Authority, particularly Airport Director Rick Rock, Commissioner David Hinkle, and Mayor Andy Lang, has been steadfast in their dedication to growing the aerospace economy in north central West Virginia, and I appreciate their efforts in helping make this happen. Today marks another milestone in this strong partnership that will continue to drive economic growth and commercial investments for years to come.”
“Having MHIRJ with us at the airport is something we are immensely proud of. This expansion is significant for the region; it means more jobs, a wave of opportunity for development for CKB and MHIRJ that both will be able to ride on. We look forward to maintaining and evolving this partnership for many years to come,” said Rick Rock, Director of the North Central West Virginia Airport.
MHIRJ’s combined Service Centers can offer maintenance to up to 30 aircraft simultaneously, making MHIRJ’s Regional MRO infrastructure the biggest in the world. This expansion comes in concert with other initiatives on MHIRJ’s side, such expanding Component Repair Capabilities, diversifying MRO activities to other aircraft types, launching a consulting service (MHIRJ Aero Advisory Services), and projects to expand MRO activities once again to other aircraft types after 2023.