Beneath crisp white lights, local leaders officially opened a new Boeing maintenance facility at Cecil Airport on Friday.
The project broke ground 2½ years ago, and Boeing executives said it will help them better serve military customers, including the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force. Local leaders said the facility will bring hundreds of jobs to Jacksonville.
“Here in Jacksonville, we are a proud military town. It’s fantastic that this site will bring at least 300 new jobs to the area,” said Mayor Donna Deegan, emphasizing that the jobs are well-paid, high-demand and highly skilled jobs.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony happened in the hangar, which spans 275,000 square feet. Behind the stage sat a P-8 multimission maritime patrol aircraft that had just returned from Japan. The hangar is capable of accommodating eight of them.
The ramp area also can accommodate up to 14 fighter jets, or two wide-body and five narrow-body aircraft, Boeing said. Beyond the hangar, there’s also 110,000 square feet of office and support space.
Specifically, Boeing said the facility will enable them to upgrade warfare capabilities and mission readiness for the P-8, while also maintaining other aircraft, including the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels and other fleet aircraft.
“This new facility enables us to strengthen the support to our customers’ operational readiness and grow our skilled workforce within the Jacksonville community,” said Rhiannon Sherrard, the executive site director of Boeing Jacksonville.
2024 marks the quarter-century anniversary since Boeing established itself in Jacksonville, a milestone celebrated with commemorative coins given to guests at the ceremony.
“The completion of this project marks the unlocking of Cecil Airport’s eastside and a new era in the history of this airport,” said Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Mark Vanloh. The Aviation Authority funded and built the building itself.
“Our incentive was: ‘We’ll build the building for you, at our cost and just charge you rent as a tenant,” he explained. “And Boeing loved that idea.”
Boeing’s new 150,000-square-foot Component Operations Repair building is under construction across the street from the maintenance facility. It specializes in repairing flight control surfaces and parts for F/A-18 and KC-46 aircraft.
Though Friday’s ceremony celebrated the progress already made, it also marked a new chapter for the future of Boeing’s impact in Jacksonville.
“There are hundreds of acres now ready and waiting,” Vanloh said. “If you look across the street, you can already see Boeing’s next project coming out of the ground.”
Lead image: Local, state and Boeing leaders cut the ribbon, officially opening the new maintenance and repair facility at Cecil Airport on Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. | Carter Mudgett, Jacksonville Today