Saturday, February 16, 2019

Week in review (2/10 to 2/16)

The February issue of the Gulf Coast Reporters League/Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor Newsletter will publish Tuesday. The eight-page PDF will be sent to the inbox subscribers, and also will be available for download at our website.

This issue includes a story about last month's groundbreaking for the new A220 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala. Some 700 folks showed up for the event at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley.

We'll also let you know what some press reports are saying about the new A220, the former Bombardier CSeries. The jetliner had its first revenue flight earlier this month. At least one reporter who took a flight said he’d take this plane over others.

There's also a story about the opening of the Navy’s newest outlying field, Site X in Santa Rosa County, Fla. It's now being used to train military aviators from Naval Air Station Whiting Field. The Navy says the new 600-acre field in the community of Jay is more capable than OLF 8, the field it replaced in Escambia County. That 600-acre parcel is destined for development.

We'll also tell you about the successful effort to raise additional money for the expansion of the ST Engineering maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) footprint at Pensacola International Airport. It's part of a package of stories bringing you up to speed on what's happened in the region since the last newsletter in December.

Now for your week in review:

The ST Engineering MRO expansion project got another $20 million during the week when the Florida Department of Transportation upped its commitment to a total of $45 million.

FDOT is amending its work program to removing funding from several other projects to fund the airport project, a process it said takes about eight weeks. FDOT's work program and budget will still need to be reviewed by the Florida Legislature, but if approved, Pensacola will receive the funding in 2021 for the project.

The $210 million expansion would add three more hangars to the one already in place at Pensacola International Airport. It would add another 1,325 jobs. (Post)

With Airbus expecting to need more workers for its A320 assembly line and A220 line that is now being built, it's holding recruiting drives at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., Tuesday and at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., Feb. 28.

Military I.D. is required to attend to recruiting open houses. Airbus and its hiring partner, AIDT, are seeking candidates (retired military, Guard, Reserve or active duty) to fill positions at the A220 assembly line.

The open house at NAS Pensacola is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Building 741. The open house at Keesler AFB is 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Sablich Center, Room 108B. (Post)

NASA resumed RS-25 rocket engine testing for its new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket with a hot fire test during the week on the A-1 Test Stand at Stennis Space Center (SSC), Miss.

The hot fire marked the first RS-25 test of the year at SSC, continuing a series with developmental engine No. 0525 that began last August. The test once more featured a flight controller to be used on an SLS mission and marked the third time since last February that NASA has powered its RS-25 engine up to 113 percent of original thrust.

NASA is testing RS-25 engines to help power the SLS rocket, being built to send humans deeper into space than ever before. Four RS-25 engines, firing simultaneously, will produce 2 million pounds of combined thrust during SLS launch and ascent.

The test was the first since mid-December, when a test was terminated early due to an observed anomaly.(Post)

Two airports during the week announced new service.

At Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS), Allegiant Airlines announced the debut of non-stop service to seven cities: Des Moines, Iowa; Huntington (Tri-State), W. Va.; Little Rock, Ark.; Rockford/Chicago, Ill.; Shreveport, La.; Toledo, Ohio/Detroit, Mich.; and Wichita, Kan.

"We couldn't be more proud of our partnership with Allegiant Air and the seven new non-stop flights from the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, bringing our total to 37 non-stop destinations," said Tracy Stage, Okaloosa County Airports Director. All seven nonstop routes will operate twice weekly. (Post)

In addition, Silver Airways announced the debut of daily non-stop service from VPS to Orlando International Airport (MCO) beginning on May 17, 2019. Silver will announce its flight schedule and propose fares Feb. 19, when tickets will go on sale. (Post)

Over at Pensacola International Airport (PNS), Silver Airways has launched daily nonstop service to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). Silver is offering introductory fares from $89 available at for a limited time for travel between Feb. 13 and May 22 for ticketing before Nov. 19.

"The commencement of direct service to Ft. Lauderdale and the South Florida area provides another link to one of the Pensacola Gulf Coast Region’s top ten market areas and important connecting opportunities on the Silver network to Key West and the Bahamas," said Pensacola Airport Director Dan Flynn. (Post)

Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $14.5 million modification to a previously awarded contract to provide for initial lay-in of repair material for seven F-35 Lightning II systems at various depots in support of the Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, non-U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) participants, and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers. Work is expected to be completed in July 2024. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. … McKinsey & Co. Inc., Washington, D.C., was awarded $15.7 million modification to a delivery order previously issued against a blanket purchase agreement in support of the F-35 Lightning II affordability campaign for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

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