Embraer To Open Design Plant In Florida

March 22, 2012

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Embraer, the world's third-largest producer of commercial aircraft, is expanding its presence in the United States with an aviation research, development and design facility in Melbourne, Florida, the company announced.

Space Florida, a state-backed economic development agency focused on expanding aerospace and related business in Florida, will finance, build and own the facility, which is expected to employ about 200 engineers and other highly skilled workers, with average annual salaries of USD$70,000.

The first 40 positions will be filled this year, said Gary Spulak, president of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Embraer North America.

Space Florida will finance USD$18.2 million for the project, with another USD$6 million coming from the Florida Innovation Fund.

"This new state-of-the-art facility will increase the scope and depth of our engineering capacity, extending it globally," Spulak said.

"This is a very significant one-of-a-kind project and a big win for Florida, Brevard County and the city of Melbourne," he added.

The centre, which initially will be focused on business jet interior design work, will be located adjacent to Embraer's newly opened 80,000-square-foot assembly plant, the first outside Brazil, and its 58,000-square-foot Executive Jets Customer Centre.

Construction of the new 67,000-square-foot facility is expected to begin shortly and be completed next year.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said the state's business climate was key to landing the deal.

"We know that for companies to do well in Florida, they have to have lower taxes, less regulation and less litigation," Scott said. "We know that their customers expect that or they will never be able to compete."

An available pool of skilled labour, many idled by the shutdown of NASA's space shuttle programme last year, also was a draw, added Spulak.

(Reuters)