Dozens of employees will be out of a job in Macon-Bibb County after a company did not renew their lease to stay open.
The Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority says the aerospace business, Bombardier, told them they did not have plans to stay, putting 89 people out of work and leaving other airport businesses to wonder what's next.
The Lowe family landed at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport 71 years ago and started Lowe Aviation. They refuel, store planes, run charter flights, and buy and sell aircraft.
Henry Lowe says Bombardier's departure leaves questions about the future of the refueling part of his family’s legacy.
“I can't tell you exactly, but, we just hope that someone else can take over the hangar so we can continue to provide service to them,” Lowe said on the tarmac Friday.
When we asked if Bombardier's closing would hurt his business, he said they would take a hit due to the refueling business.
“Well, it makes a big effect on it. It's certainly going to change what goes on here,” Lowe said.
Lowe says refueling Contour's new commercial flights in and out of Macon has helped, but he's not sure if it will make up for the lost business that Bombardier's closure will take away.
Macon-Bibb Industrial Authority Director Stephen Adams says they haven't lost faith in the airport.
“We believe that we have a lot to offer, it's a very unique asset for this community and we don't believe that this decision to close this facility by Bombardier is in any way an indicator of the airport or the community,” Adams said at the Authority’s office in downtown Macon.
Boeing left last October and erased more than a hundred jobs at the time. Now, Bombardier’s closure will leave 89 without work.
Bombardier opened at Middle Georgia Regional Airport in 2010 and initially hired 160 workers. Boeing operated in Macon for more than 35 years.
Adams says their number one priority right now is helping those employees find other work. They have already activated a rapid response team that Adams says is in communication with Bombardier management. The team will help look over resumes, refresh interview skills, and find new employment for the current workers.
Before the two companies left, the airport had an economic impact of more than $100 million back in 2015.
But Lowe says he's staying optimistic.
“So, hopefully we'll have other aircraft come in and take their place,” Lowe said.
Local employees at Bombardier’s office at the airport said they could not comment and told WMAZ to contact the company’s main office. The main office has not returned our request for comment.
Adams says companies have been in contact with the County about filling Boeing’s empty former facility. He said the County also expects to move forward with plans to expand the runway so larger planes can land in Macon.
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