June 14, 2012

A $23 million expansion of a Gulfstream Aerospace maintenance facility at Westfield-Barnes Airport (BAF) in Westfield, MA promises to enhance economic activity in the southwestern portion of the state.

The 100,000-square-foot addition will double the size of the facility, as well as add more than 100 permanent jobs. Currently, about 130 people work at the facility.

“These are the kinds of jobs that can uplift a community,” said Mark L. Burns, Gulfstream’s president of product support. “We are very proud of that.”

Ground was broken on the project in May, and Burns said there would be an additional 200 construction jobs while the new hangar is being built. The project is scheduled for completion by April 2013.

In addition, Westfield Mayor Daniel M. Knapik said the city plans to create an aviation business park to house businesses that want to co-locate with the maintenance facility, enabling the airport to become a “major economic engine” for the area.

“This project is an excellent example of a private/public partnership which sustains and creates economic development for a region,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey.

MassDOT Aeronautics Division Administrator Christopher Willenborg noted that Gulfstream’s expanding Westfield operation was just one of more than 60 aviation maintenance and repair businesses at Massachusetts airports, which together create more than 700 direct and indirect jobs worth $110 million each year.

“Massachusetts has always been aviation-friendly, and expansion of the Westfield maintenance facility will be a win-win for Gulfstream and the state alike,” said Dean Saucier, NBAA’s Northeast regional representative.

Massachusetts is home to plants or offices of more than 2,300 companies directly involved in some facet of aerospace, including Raytheon, GE Aircraft Engines and Lockheed Martin. Also, Signature Flight Support is one of the state’s largest employers of aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul personnel.