TAMPA — PEMCO World Air Services, the commercial airline repair firm at Tampa International Airport that fell on hard times and announced layoffs in 2012, announced a new contract Monday: PEMCO will service JetBlue's fleet of Airbus A320s for five years.
Discount airline JetBlue has been a PEMCO customer for five years, the company said. This new deal is a consolidation of JetBlue's Florida maintenance work, PEMCO said, and will increase the number of aircraft that will be serviced in Tampa. The deal to handle JetBlue's airframe maintenance work will support 200 jobs and have an estimated economic impact of up to $110 million on the Tampa Bay economy, according to PEMCO.
PEMCO is the largest airplane maintenance and repair company headquartered at Tampa International. The company bills itself as a leader in the MRO — or maintenance, repair and overhaul — sector of the airline industry.
In 2008, officials lured PEMCO to Tampa to fill two empty hangars that had sat empty in the airport for six years at 4102 and 4202 N West Shore Blvd. PEMCO's Tampa subsidiary serviced hundreds of aircraft as large as Boeing's 747. For JetBlue alone, PEMCO has serviced 250 of its jets over the past four years.
But in August 2012, United Airlines suddenly canceled all of its repair work with PEMCO, forcing the company to start gutting its local workforce. The company announced it would have to lay off 63 percent of its 749 workers, or 474 people. That came just months after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to reorganize its assets. The company said later in 2012 that it took measures to reduce some of those projected job losses.
It was unknown Monday exactly how many workers lost their jobs in 2012, what the current size of PEMCO's workforce is, or how many new jobs the JetBlue contract will create.
PEMCO also announced a deal this year to convert 20 commercial airliners into cargo planes for AERGO Cargo Solutions.