Macon city leaders expect a top airplane manufacturing and maintenance company to relocate to the Middle Georgia Regional Airport, just as another one closes down.
Atlantic Southeast Airlines currently performs plane maintenance at the airport, but city officials say it plans to close.
Tuesday night, Macon city council approved a lease agreement to allow Canadian-based Bombardier to move in, when ASA moves out, saving jobs in Central Georgia.
Public Properties Chairman Erick Erickson says, "the economic impact for the region is going to be very big for having them here, and I really do expect over the next few years they're going to grow the facility and not just maintain it at status quo."
Senior Vice President for the Macon Economic Development Commission Pat Topping says Bombardier taking over will allow them to save jobs that could have been lost if ASA shut down without a replacement.
Topping says, "there was a strong possibility of that--that this facility could have been greatly reduced in the amount of work they did or there certainly could have been a strong possibility that they could have closed the facility."
Topping says the new company was looking for a maintenance facility in the Southeast when they came to Macon.
He says they had a relationship with ASA because they manufacture the planes that ASA flies.
He says that relationship grew into a new lease agreement.
Councilman Erick Erickson is excited about a new company flying in.
He says, "this is just a huge deal for us, it is a good Christmas present."
As part of the incentive package to bring Bombardier to Macon, city council approved an agreement to pay $160,000 over five years to reduce the ground lease fee that the company has to pay.
To maintain that rate Bombardier must employ at least 70% of the 120 people currently working at the facility.
Pat Topping says he hopes the agreement will help bring the company to the area within the first quarter of 2010.
According to their website, Bombardier is the third largest civil aircraft manufacturer in the world.