The City of Mobile and Mobile County are providing incentives to a major aerospace company. This time it is not to bring jobs to Mobile but to keep them here.
VT Aerospace may have been feeling ignored in the hoopla surrounding Airbus locating next door. Airbus has now been around for a year and half, employs 350 people, and has delivered one plane. VT Aerospace has been around 25 years, employees 1300 and has refurbished thousands of planes.
No doubt recently all the attention has gone to its flashy, famous, new neighbor but Tuesday the Mobile City Council approved one million dollars to make much needed repairs on VT’s World War Two era hangars.
“Mayor Stimpson thought it was very appropriate to maintain a good relationship with this employer and this manufacturer in the City of Mobile,” said Colby Copper, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s Chief of Staff.
Mobile County will vote in two weeks to provide another $700,000
When Airbus became the new darling at Brookley, other cities swooped in to court VT Aerospace.
“You are seeing long term tenants who have large employment forces are being solicited by other jurisdictions and other states to relocate with better facilities,’ said County Attorney Jay Ross.
He’s referring to Pensacola, where a new VT facility will employ 300 or more. By accepting Mobile’s money, however, VT promises to maintain employment levels here for the next six years.
“Our hope is that they’ll be here for another 50 years,” said Cooper.
The Mobile Airport Authority says it has in no way has ignored VT, spending eight and a half million dollars over the last 10 years on ramp repairs and improvements.
VT opened at the Brookley Aeroplex in 1990. The Singapore-based firm has operated in Mobile under several different names including Mobile Aerospace Engineering and ST Aerospace. Calls to VT management for comment were not returned.