KINSTON – The state transportation secretary announced Tuesday a major aerospace company is making its home at the North Carolina Global TransPark in Kinston.
Draken International, a Texas-based firm that owns the world's largest commercial fleet of privately-owned tactical aircraft, has leased hangar and office space at the Global TransPark. Draken plans to help prepare pilots at nearby Seymour Johnson Air Force Base by acting as the enemy force during training missions and war games. The company will provide similar services for the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
“This is a win for North Carolina, and will be a tremendous asset for the military and provide an economic boost for the region," said Eric Boyette, secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation, which is the umbrella agency for the TransPark. “This would not have happened without the partnership between Draken, the Global TransPark, the state and local community leaders."
John Rouse is the president and chief executive officer for the Global TransPark.
“Draken's selection of the Global TransPark proves that North Carolina has the infrastructure and assets to attract and support aerospace and defense related industries," Rouse said. “Their arrival highlights why the Global TransPark is an ideal location to start, grow or relocate an aerospace or aviation related business."
By locating in Kinston, Draken will be stationed near their primary customers at the two military installations and able to provide up to 1,000 support missions each year. Initially, the operation will consist of eight A-4 Skyhawk Fighters based at the Global TransPark and approximately 40 workers already employed by Draken.
Aircraft are being positioned at the Global TransPark so missions can start soon.
"The North Carolina Global TransPark is the perfect long-term partner for Draken International," said Bill Tart, chief operating officer at Draken. “The mission-focused attitudes of everyone we've been associated with, from the airport management, to the DOT, to the car dealerships and local businesses we need to partner with for our success, have been the key ingredient of our ability to support the airmen at Seymour Johnson so quickly. The infrastructure investment in runway, taxiway and hangars showed us that North Carolina and Kinston are serious about growing their aviation industry."
Norris Tolson is the chairman of the Global TransPark Authority Board of Directors.
“This illustrates our strategic vision for how the Global TransPark can grow and how we can help the TransPark reach its full potential," Tolson said.