Orangeburg will be the home of a new GKN Aerospace assembly plant, which is designed to create 300 jobs over five years.
The facility will assemble the fuselage of the HondaJet, under a contract announced ten days ago. The development work is performed at the company’s Alabama facility. Once assembled in Orangeburg, the fuselage is shipped to Greensboro, North Carolina, where Honda will build the entire plane.
The assembly of the all-composite fuselage for Honda’s new light business jet will begin in mid-2012.
“Small and medium-sized business jets all saw a pretty rough two-year period, and now it’s back on the upswing,” Mike McCann, the GKN’s Senior VP for Business Development and Strategy said.
HondaJet is the first general aviation aircraft to be developed by the Honda Motor Company. Its maiden flight was completed in December 2010.
The 150,000 sq ft. plant is scheduled to be operational by the second half of next year. Recruitment of the first new staff will begin in spring, 2012 and the company says it wants to fill a majority of the posts with local people.
GKN plans to assemble about 50-100 planes per year at the site. “We believe there’s going to be long-term opportunities here, and a long-term, stable business base,” McCann said, “Obviously, we want to grow the facility, too, as we have at our other business locations.”
McCann said GKN was attracted to Orangeburg because the facility was already built and was the right size and layout. “This gives us a chance to get a jumpstart on the transition into production,” he said.