Abbotsford’s Cascade Aerospace will become one of only two Lockheed Martin-authorized C-130 Heavy Maintenance Centers (HMCs) in the world.
Lockheed Martin’s Rick Kirkland, vice-president of international business development, made the announcement Friday morning during a reception at the Abbotsford International Airport.
“There is only one other company throughout the world that we have bestowed this authority, and this will provide Cascade the ability to support the C130J for the Canadian Forces, but also open up opportunities for the growing number of C130J fleets around the world,” said Kirkland.
David Schellenberg, Cascade Aerospace CEO said achieving this status with Lockheed Martin is a “real honour.”
“We are privileged to have Lockheed Martin’s respect and credibility behind us, and to become one of only two C-130 HMCs in the world. With more than 1,450 C-130s currently operating in 65 countries, and with Lockheed’s C-130J delivery backlog and strong order book, this new standing will significantly increase the international opportunities for Cascade Aerospace.”
He added the new designation will “mean the sustainment and the growth of jobs” in Abbotsford.”
Cascade and Lockheed Martin also recently signed a unique Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly pursue mutually beneficial business opportunities.
“We are going to be looking for international opportunities but we know what out core is. And our core is to look after these Hercules (C-130) for the men and women of the air force.”
Cascade currently supports Canada’s new 17 aircraft C-130J fleet under a 20 year contract with Lockheed Martin and provides fleet management services directly to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) for its legacy C-130 Hercules.
While no monetary value was announced, Schellenberg said the new status is an “important first step” that will take time to develop.
“It allows us to develop business with Lockheed Martin on an international scale.”
A large group of dignitaries attended the announcement including Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman, MLAs Michael de Jong and John van Dongen and Abbotsford MP and Minister of International Trade Ed Fast.
“The aerospace industry, as most of you know, represents somewhere in the order of close to $7 billion worth of GDP. Represents close to $20 billion of revenues in Canada. It is the fifth largest industry sector in Canada and it supports somewhere in the area of 87,000 jobs,” said Fast.
He told the crowd that several news magazines have identified Canada as the best place in the world to do business.
Several other aviation-related contract, not involving Abbotsford companies, were announced at the event.
The previous day, Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, spoke at the 2012 Abbotsford Aerospace and Defence Expo.
The expo was held at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre and brought together large international companies with small and medium sized businesses from Western Canada. The expo featured a number of opportunities designed to showcase western Canadian capabilities and facilitate partnerships, including an industry tradeshow, networking opportunities and interactive workshops on various topics.
“Our government is committed to creating the right conditions that will promote the success of Canada’s job-creating businesses and industries,” said Yelich.
Jay Teichroeb, Abbotsford’s general manager of economic development and planning services. said the city has held events like this in the past, but now plans to make the trade show an annual event.
He said most of the major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) were on hand for the show.
“I fully expect that we are now on the radar screen of most of the key industry players in Canada and quite frankly throughout north America.”
He said the show is just another way the city is trying to build on the airport.
Back in 2009, the city created an initiative to provide tax incentives for new development at the airport. The tax relief program allows major developments to enjoy a 100 per cent tax break in the first year, and then pay 10 per cent each year until the company is paying full taxes at the end of 10 years.