Honda's Lease at Airport (NC) Nears Signing

Piedmont Triad Airport Authority in final stages of negotiating lease for Honda Aircraft's headquarters


The Piedmont Triad Airport Authority is in the final stages of negotiating a lease for Honda Aircraft's planned headquarters and manufacturing hangar at the airport.

The board has scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday at 1 p.m. to authorize moving forward with the lease. At that meeting, the board will also consider moving its regular meeting dates.

The Honda lease is "a great milestone," said Henry Isaacson, chairman of the authority.

Honda said in early February that it will build a headquarters, design and manufacturing center for its HondaJet that will employ about 300 workers.

The HondaJet will enter the "very light jet" market sometime in 2010 if Honda gets full Federal Aviation Administration certification. Honda hopes to sell more than 70 of the jets a year at about $3.65 million.

Bill Cooke, the authority's attorney, said Wednesday the lease will likely be for 40 years on 70 acres at a cost of about $5,600 a month.

The payments are expected to be made for Honda by the state as part of an incentives agreement.

Honda will initially invest about $60 million in buildings and equipment. Its employees will earn an average salary of $70,000.

Today marks another milestone for the airport: Allegiant Air, a discount carrier, begins flights to St. Petersburg and Orlando, Fla. Flights will depart every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

The company flies nonstop and uses full-size jets that hold 130 people, larger planes than found on many flights from Piedmont Triad International Airport.

The authority hopes this and flights beginning next week from SkyBus Airlines will help because PTI has been steadily losing passengers over the past two years to the state's other major airports in the Triangle and Charlotte.

Also at Tuesday's special meeting, the board will vote on a proposal to move its regular meetings from the third Tuesday of every month to the fourth Tuesday.

Isaacson has requested the change because he has been appointed to the N.C. Aeronautics Council, which meets on the third Tuesday at airports around the state.

Contact Richard M. Barron at 373-7371 or dbarron @news-record.com

nThat contract, a request to change when the board meets and a new airline make for a busy week.



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