Thursday, April 26, 2018
Business

Hernando County Airport lands Pem-Air aircraft repair operation

BROOKSVILLE — A large-aircraft refurbishing and repair company is moving into an existing hangar at the Hernando County Airport.

Pem-Air LLC is expanding from its headquarters in Davie. Coming with it will be an expected 10 new skilled jobs during the coming year and a raft of big aircraft, primarily the C-130 Hercules transport workhorse that is utilized by the military and cargo shippers.

"They've got some exciting prospects that we're excited to have developing at the airport," said county economic development director Mike McHugh.

At the company's Davie headquarters, Pem-Air does not have access to a runway and therefore cannot fly in the nearly 100-foot cargo carriers in need of work. Engines and other parts must be removed from the planes and brought to the facility for repairs.

"(The Hernando airport) site will give them the ability to work on aircraft," McHugh said. "The runway of 7,000 feet can handle most passenger jets and cargo aircraft, and (Pem-Air does) work on both. We anticipate they will bring larger, significant aircraft in."

McHugh said Pem-Air has no connection with PEMCO World Air Services, which recently laid off many of its workers at Tampa International Airport.

Pem-Air already has delivered two trailer loads of equipment to a 9,000-square-foot corporate hangar at the Hernando airport that was vacated by an aircraft electronics company. Pem-Air's repair operation, certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, also will utilize the space for a new endeavor — aircraft dismantling and salvage.

Pem-Air had expected to be operational at its Hernando site, which it is leasing, by midsummer.

"They haven't come to fruition as quickly as we hoped," McHugh said, "but they're coming."

The company's president, Virgil Pizer, did not respond to several requests from the Times for additional details about Pem-Air's operations.

McHugh noted that Pizer travels the globe and can be difficult to reach. McHugh said he has talked with Pizer by phone from such places as Dubai and Rome.

McHugh said discussions had been ongoing for more than a year in an effort to bring Pem-Air to Hernando.

"All the pieces started to fit together," he said. "We're just excited to have them here."

McHugh said the manufacturing and commerce sites at the airport complex are able to accommodate a variety of high-tech endeavors. Landing more high-tech business has been a goal of McHugh's as the county works to diversify the local economy and bring in higher--paying jobs.

"Aviation is one of them that we're after," he said. "We are definitely working in the aviation side, and this will be a great representation of that effort.

"We're hoping this is a big start on aircraft services," McHugh said. "This is Pem-Air's starting point. As they grow, they will build a bigger location. We'll be standing ready to help them with that."

Beth Gray can be contacted at [email protected]

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