BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced plans to expand its aircraft service center in Harrison County, which could result in the creation in as many as 300 new jobs.

“First of all, they are located here already,” Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said following Tuesday’s announcement. “They see what a great force we have. They’ve decided to make an expansion. It makes me feel very proud of Governor, and it’s going to mean more jobs in North Central West Virginia.”

The expansion is intended to enhance Bombardier’s ability to provide heavy maintenance, component repair, and overhaul support for the CRJ Series and Q Series aircraft’s.

“We are proud to say we are the only growing airport in the state,” North Central West Virginia Airport Director Rick Rock said. “Our annual economic impact is over one billion dollars. Just to put that into perspective, our largest airport in the state [is] Yeager Airport. They just announced their annual economic impact, and it’s 177 million.”

The existing 145,000 square foot service center will more than double in size and is expected to double in available man-hours.

“It’s been a long road and many years in making it to get to this point,” Harrison County Commissioner and Airport Authority member Ron Watson said. “Today’s announcement is only part of the journey.”

Job creation at the new site is expected to be based on demand.

“We’ll have our work cut out for us in 2017 and until we actually break the ribbon to announce that we are ready for business,” Watson said.

Ground breaking is expected sometime in the spring of 2017.

“When we combine the innovativeness (sic) of Bombardier, the leadership of Steve McCoy and his West Virginia air center team, the vision of our local and state leaders with the West Virginia work ethic of our work force, that’s a recipe for success,” Rick Rock said. “There’s no doubt.”

Details on projected costs are not yet available.

The current site in Bridgeport has been active for 18 years.

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