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Economic Development

Southern Aviation Parts & Services to create 200 jobs in Chatham County

Category: Economic Development



By Clark Byron, Senior Business Contributor

Nov. 6 - The Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) and the Savannah Airport Commission (SAC) announced today during a press conference that Southern Aviation Parts & Services is locating in Chatham County. The new company, set to begin work in 2014, will create 200 jobs with an annual median income estimated at $60,000, in the next five years. The total investment is $15-17 million.

The company, which will create high end, custom aircraft interiors, will be located at two locations. The Pooler location, 123 Westside Blvd, will have complete engineering, fabrication and finishing capabilities to serve general aviation customers. The second location, at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, will focus on custom aviation interiors for larger aircraft like Boeing 737 and 757, as well as Airbus A319 and A320 models.

SEDA Board Chair David Paddison told SBJ that Southern’s primary customers are international that have these very large-scale planes. Some of these interiors can cost up to $50 million. “We looked at one in Las Vegas that was a $90 million interior,” said Paddison. “There are very few places where you can go and have this kind and this quality of work done.

Paddison said the best part about this is that aviation A & P (Airframe & Power Plant) employees are already being trained at Savannah Tech. “We’ve also got great aeronautical engineers coming out of Georgia Tech,” he said. “A lot of what Southern does is interior design and furniture design. A lot of SCAD students are already very highly placed in this industry–in fact, the largest customer has as its head of design a SCAD graduate.”

Southern Aviation Parts & Services co-founder Hoss Motlagh said, “Savannah and Pooler make ideal locations for Southern Aviation Parts & Services. The location, the workforce, the support of the community--in particular the support from SEDA, the Savannah Airport Commission and the City of Pooler--made this a logical choice. It is our goal to complement and help support current aviation companies, like Gulfstream Aerospace, by giving them a local option for their outsourced work, which typically goes to out-of-state suppliers now. We also plan to expand Savannah’s reputation and capability as an aviation industry leader.”

SEDA President and CEO Trip Tollison said, “Hoss and his team are no strangers to the aviation community. With their contacts and long-term relationships, I believe we will see this project quickly become successful and a great asset to our community.”

Sylvester Formey, SAC Chairman, said, “Southern Aviation Parts & Services’ decision to place their world-class facility in Savannah and specifically at our airport highlights all that’s positive about our continual economic development efforts. The airport’s land-side aviation assets working in conjunction with SEDA’s support is a competitive and undeniable combination. We welcome Southern Aviation Parts and Services to our local manufacturing base.”

Paddison added, “The principals at Southern Aviation Parts & Services have a great track record of investment, innovation and bringing jobs to our area. We are thrilled they chose Chatham County as a base of operations and this announcement helps solidify Savannah as the aviation corridor of the Southeast.”

The SAC voted today to approve the lease agreement with Southern Aviation Parts and Services, clearing the way to move forward with the project. SEDA will vote on an incentives package for Southern Aviation Parts and Services at their regularly scheduled board meeting on Nov. 12, 10:30 a.m. at SEDA, 131 Hutchinson Island Road, 4th floor.

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