An amphibious aircraft maker plans to build a new $100 million manufacturing facility on the NSW Central Coast.
In a boost to Australia’s aerospace sector, Amphibian Aerospace Industries (AAI) has signed a 40-year lease on space at Central Coast Airport at Warnervale. The site will be used for work on its Albatross amphibious aircraft that was previously done in the United States.
NSW Premier Mike Baird made the announcement alongside AAI group president Khoa Hoang on the Central Coast on Tuesday.
“This is a great day for the Central Coast – this announcement means thousands of jobs for the region with a significant flow on to the Central Coast economy,” Premier Baird said in a statement.
“The decision by AAI to locate here is a testament that NSW is Australia’s prime location for business growth and investment.”
Hoang said the facility at Central Coast Airport would focus on upgrades to the Albatross, including new turboprop engines, new avionics in the cockpit and passenger amenities.
“We could do this from numerous countries in the world but chose Australia because there is great available aviation engineering talent, we have support from the government and it is a stable political and legal environment,” Hoang said.
“It just made good sense to us to choose the Central Coast. It’s close to Sydney and Newcastle, it’s in a great location and it offers our employees a great lifestyle.”
The development of the site would take between three to five years, with AAI required to submit a development proposal to the Central Coast Council.
The local council said the lease with AAI was part of efforts to make Central Coast Airport a “hub for light to medium commercial general aviation”.
Currently, the airport at Warnervale, which has a 1.2km paved runway, handles general aviation aircraft.
“Having an anchor tenant like AAI at Central Coast Airport will help put our region on the aviation industry map,” Central Coast Council administrator Ian Reynolds said.
“It will stimulate the Central Coast to become nationally recognised and help in attracting additional investment from related industries and innovators and growing our economy.”
Figures from Central Coast Council indicated the facility would create 240 direct jobs in aircraft manufacturing, as well as “thousands” of indirect jobs in other industries such as the manufacturing of parts and instruments, as well as fitouts and avionics.