Settlement could add 200 jobs at SCLA

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March 24--VICTORVILLE

--Leading Edge Aviation Services has dropped its multimilllion-dollar breach of contract lawsuit against the city, resolving a dispute over a hangar and paving the way for an estimated 200 jobs to come to Victorville.

Leading Edge filed suit against Victorville and FedEx last June. T h e a i rc ra f t painting company was seeking profits it claimed were lost after the city signed a l e a s e w i t h FedEx for a hangar at Southern Ca l i fo r n i a Logistics Airport that had already been promised to Leading Edge.

After lengthy negotiations, SCLA Director Keith Metzler told the City Council that the three parties finally reached a settlement agreement. FedEx has vacated the disputed hangar and Leading Edge moved in Monday night, with the Santa Ana-based company now leasing three hangars at the airport.

"We resolved it, we're in the hangar and we're bringing jobs up there," Kathryn Brewer, CFO for Leading Edge, said by phone Wednesday.

What helped hinge the deal was Victorville allowing Leading Edge to terminate its lease with 120 days' notice, which Brewer said was a sticking point for her company because of the current uncertainty over oil prices and how that might impact demand from their clients.

So far, Brewer said that demand remains strong.

Leading Edge recently signed a new contract to handle overflow jobs from Air Canada, hoping to win the entire contract soon. And, with the addition of 50 percent more hangar space, Brewer said work converting planes for the United/Continental merger that had been sent to Leading Edge facilities in Miami and Indianapolis can be brought back to Victorville.

Metzler said city staff is still working on additional hangar space for FedEx, though he said there's no pressing need from the company at this time.

Brooke Edwards may be reached at (760) 955-5358 or at bedwards@VVDailyPress.com.

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