March 28, 2009 in Business

Loan could land airport business

Airplane painter would occupy hangar if state development agency OKs funds
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Find out more: Time-lapse video of the company at work.

Spokane airport officials are seeking a state loan of almost $4 million to help a Western Washington airplane painting company set up shop here.

Everett-based Associated Painters Inc. would lease a new hangar built with state money if the loan to the airport is approved, said Todd Woodard, a Spokane airport spokesman.

Once financing moves forward, Associated Painters would move about 40 jobs to Spokane next year. Its hangar would be near the renovated airport hangar occupied by Cascade Aerospace, a Canadian-based maintenance and aircraft repair company that began operating here in February.

Associated Painters works as a subcontractor for other aviation firms. It has offices in Arizona and Oklahoma and its headquarters at Paine Field in Everett.

Woodard said Associated Painters CEO Rod Friese is a friend of the CEO of Cascade Aerospace. They concluded that a jet painting facility next to Cascade Aerospace’s Spokane site would give airlines a quick-turnaround solution, Woodard said.

Also critical to the planned move is that Spokane’s location saves money compared to Paine Field, he said. By being based at a commercial-aviation airport, its customers can quickly swap one plane that lands in Spokane for an aircraft just painted.

“They’ve indicated that they’ve lost some bids because of the cost of ‘ferrying’ airplanes to and from Paine Field,” Woodard said. Ferrying means bringing empty planes to the painting site.

The request for the loan will be submitted to the state Community Economic Revitalization Board, part of the state Community, Trade and Economic Development department.

A similar loan request was the key step in helping Cascade Aerospace take over an old hangar at the airport, Woodard said.

The new Associated Painters application is for a $3.9 million CERB loan to the airport, which the airport would repay over 20 years. The airport also will contribute $436,000. Associated Painters will provide about $1.2 million toward the relocation, Woodard said.

The new hangar would be about 23,000 square feet. Construction contracts would be awarded in January 2010 at the earliest, he said.

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