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Large employer at Tampa International Airport moves headquarters to bay area

The company that took over two abandoned Tampa International Airport maintenance hangars and employs hundreds of mechanics has established its headquarters in Tampa.

Pemco World Air Services quietly moved its executive offices from Dothan, Ala., CEO Wake Smith confirmed Thursday.

Pemco relocated 10 headquarters employees from Dothan in July and filled 50 other positions with new hires in Tampa and workers who lost jobs at its Alabama facility, he said.

"We intend for our Tampa facility to be the company's flagship, and we see Tampa as a better market to attract the sort of executive talent we need to lead the company," he said.

Pemco is one of the largest employers at Tampa International, with about 700 workers at two cavernous hangars, where mechanics perform jet maintenance, repairs and modifications for airlines including United, JetBlue and Southwest.

Pemco leased the old US Airways hangar in 2008. US Airways shuttered the facility and laid off 300 workers six years earlier after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

In 2010, Pemco moved into the airport's other big jet-repair facility, the former Delta Air Lines hangar. Delta abandoned the facility in 2005 and eliminated 300 jobs as part of a $240 million cost-cutting plan.

For more than a decade, U.S. airlines have largely shifted jet airframe repairs and maintenance work from their own mechanics to contractors like Pemco.

The company also has operations in Dothan and Cincinnati and partner operations in Asia.

Bill Meehan, a 27-year veteran of Continental Airlines, will take over as CEO on June 1 from Wake Smith, who has run Pemco since it was purchased by Sun Capital Partners in 2007.

Meehan held senior positions in Continental's aircraft maintenance and repair operations. More recently, he was the airline's senior vice president of airport services.

Contact Steve Huettel at huettel@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3384.

Large employer at Tampa International Airport moves headquarters to bay area 05/19/11 [Last modified: Thursday, May 19, 2011 9:21pm]
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