Dothan, AL - For the first time in months, people are hard at work inside the hangars at the former Pemco property.
Commercial Jet will begin airliner maintenance June 1st, so that leaves the contractor, Engineer Systems of Dothan, less than two months to get the first building ready for use.
"We knew there was going to be a very short time fuse between the day of the announcement and the day they would need to move in," said Dothan Regional Airport Director Art Morris.
Work has already started on the wide body hangar. This building only needs minimal repairs. They'll fix a leaky roof, a large roll up door, and replace an air compressor. But this is the just the first phase of repairs.
"Some of the other buildings are older and require more extensive repairs. We've got one buidling that is requiring a roof replacement. One building we're converting from one use to another use. Those are a little more extensive modifications," said Morris.
By the time Commercial Jet moves in, the city of Dothan will privately run the airport's control tower.
Leaders are still trying to nail down how much it will cost to operate, but they've been given a little breathing room.
"It was a blessing to hear the FAA was going to extend that closure date to June 15. So that gives us a little more time to more carefully evaluate the proposals sent to us. So we can be sure and certain we are selecting the very best proposal," said Morris.
While Morris was thrilled to hear that news, he's happier to be able to put those who lost their jobs when Pemco closed back to work.
"Some of those guys had tears in their eyes. It was bringing tears to my eyes to see that. We're just so happy for them. We've got a company that's going to be able to offer those opportunities to them," he said.
About $14 million will be spent on the renovations. The state of Alabama will provide a $7.5 million industrial grant, and $6 million will be borrowed from Regions Bank.
About 500 jobs will be created over the next three years at Commcercial Jet, and they are already hiring to fill 60 positions.