A Virginia avionics business is planning to expand its operations to Maryland, creating up to 40 new jobs at the Hagerstown Regional Airport, Washington County officials announced Tuesday.
Cycle Aviation, based at Leesburg (Va.) Executive Airport, will establish an aircraft maintenance and repair operation at the airport north of Hagerstown, according to a county news release.
To aid in the expansion, the Washington County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted 3-0 to approve a conditional $100,000 loan to the company for its job-creation goal.
“Having an avionic shop onsite like Cycle Aviation to serve the HGR aviation community was a goal of the HGR marketing plan that we’ve worked diligently to accomplish,” County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said in the release.
“Now, with a shop in place, we’ll be able to leverage this tool in our toolbox to better serve aviation customers and can continue conversations to attract additional business to HGR,” he said.
With about 10 employees to start, the full-service avionics shop will offer wages averaging $30 per hour — a figure that is almost double the per-capita income average in the state, county officials said.
A grand opening is tentatively scheduled for May 3.
“Expanding our service locations to include a site at Hagerstown Regional Airport was the next logical step for our business,” Cycle Aviation President Mark Granger said in the release.
“With this new location, we’ll have many resources at our disposal, including assets like the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics for staffing needs and room to grow as we buildout our client portfolio,” he said.
Assistant County Administrator Sarah L. Sprecher, who presented the conditional loan to the commissioners Tuesday, said another part of the company’s interest in expanding to the county-owned airport is the less-restrictive airspace compared to Leesburg in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
“In addition, there are new federal regulations coming out where each airplane will be outfitted with a communications piece as mandated by the federal government by 2019,” she said. “Cycle has indicated that there are not enough aviation shops to fulfill that demand, so that’s one reason why they wanted to expand into a location such as Washington County.”
Cycle Aviation also plans to make more than $150,000 in capital expenditures as part of its expansion project, the release said.
The company’s investment will pay for new equipment for the business expansion project in Hangar 64 on the airfield, which is near Rider Jet Center.
Conditional loans, which convert to grants if a company meets its employment goals, have become a popular way to attract new business, Sprecher said.