OXFORD – If all goes according to plan, Oxford Aviation may bring more than 200 jobs to the Brunswick Naval Air Station by 2010 and expand its work force of 68 employees here, too.

“We’re expanding into a very significant area,” Jim Horowitz, president of Oxford Aviation said Tuesday of his plan to lease 177,000 square feet of space at the Brunswick Naval Air Station to refurbish large aircraft that the Oxford County Regional Airport cannot accommodate.

Oxford Aviation has provided aircraft painting and scheme design services, interior refurbishments, custom cabinetry and maintenance and avionics for the past 21 years at the county facility off Route 26 in Oxford and at the Eastern Slopes Regional Airport in North Conway, N.H. Its expansion has been hampered by lack of a long runway that can land large jets, Horowitz has said.

Horowitz said he’s signed a letter of agreement to lease space with the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, the panel charged with overseeing redevelopment of BNAS.

The letter gives Oxford Aviation the option of leasing space from the authority once it acquires BNAS from the federal government, said Jeffery Jordan, MRRA deputy director of the 11-member board created by state statute. It will be some time before the air station changes hands.

Howowitz said he is “99.9 percent sure” his expansion plans will succeed at the Brunswick facility.

“Everyone has to be cautious. I understand the protocol in the transfer (of the property from the federal government) but there’s very little doubt. It’s just a matter of timing,” Horowitz said.

He said Oxford Aviation uses 40,000 square feet of hangar space in its exterior paint work, interior upholstery and cabinet work on small private planes and corporate turboprops and small jets. But, he said, it has turned away millions of dollars worth of contracts because it has not had the space to work on larger jets, which cannot land and take off at the Oxford airport.

Horowitz said the expansion is significant in that there is an eight- to 10-year backlog of work that provides a “ready-made market” for expansion.

By renting modern hangar space at BNAS his clients would have access to two 8,000-foot-long runways. Horowitz said that would allow Oxford Aviation to work on practically any aircraft in use today.

Horowitz said the expansion will increase work at Oxford Aviation facilities here.

“Oxford Aviation will remain open and actually grow with larger opportunities,” Horowitz said.

In anticipation of the new business, Horowitz said he has retained two consultants, John W. Olcott, former president of the National Business Aircraft Association, and F. Lee Bailey, who has a history of involvement in virtually every phase of aviation for more than 50 years. Robert A. “Bob” Hoover will also be what Horowitz called a “key adviser” to the company.

Horowitz credited John Richardson, state commissioner of business development, and Steve Levesque, executive director of MRRA, and its members with assisting in getting the letter of agreement.


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