Premier Mike Baird announces $100m investment in aircraft manufacturing plant at Warnervale

CONCEPT PLAN: How the $100-million manufacturing plant might look at Warnervale. A development application and approvals are still to be considered. Artwork: Supplied

CONCEPT PLAN: How the $100-million manufacturing plant might look at Warnervale. A development application and approvals are still to be considered. Artwork: Supplied

A $100-million aircraft manufacturing facility will be built at Warnervale.

Premier Mike Baird today announced the facility, to be built at Central Coast Airport, would create a new aerospace industry and sub-industries in Australia.

Amphibian Aerospace Industries (AAI) will relocate its American manufacturing operations to the Central Coast, under the plan.

AAI would become the first transport-category aircraft manufacturer to set up in Australia since the 1940s, the Premier said.

“This is a great day for the Central Coast – this announcement means thousands of jobs for the region with a significant flow-on to the Central Coast economy,” Mr Baird said.

“The decision by AAI to locate here is a testament that NSW is Australia’s prime location for business growth and investment.”

The move is expected to create 240 direct jobs in aircraft manufacturing.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Premier Mike Baird, left, with Amphibian Aircraft Group president Khoa Hoang, at Warnervale today. Picture: Supplied

ANNOUNCEMENT: Premier Mike Baird, left, with Amphibian Aircraft Group president Khoa Hoang, at Warnervale today. Picture: Supplied

In addition, thousands of indirect jobs are expected to be generated in auxiliary industries such as parts supply, instrumentation, interior fit-outs and avionics, a spokesperson for the council said.

AAI said it expected to source about 70 per cent of its employees for the Central Coast facility from the local region.

The company will enter into a 40-year lease at the site.

The announcement appears to vindicate former Wyong Shire mayor Doug Eaton’s claim that the site could become an aviation hub.

Earlier this year, former Cr Eaton’s public assertions that “an announcement” about investment at Warnervale was imminent were dismissed by some critics as “pie in the sky”.

They cited the collapse of the former council’s bid to build a regional airport at Kiar Ridge, and doubts about the viability of establishing a regional airport at Warnervale, as evidence the council was off track.

AMPHIBIOUS: The Grumman G-111 Albatross aircraft. Picture: Supplied

AMPHIBIOUS: The Grumman G-111 Albatross aircraft. Picture: Supplied

Ongoing delays and questions surrounding the proposed $500-million Chappypie Chinese Theme Park, also at Warnervale, only fuelled public scepticism.

But council administrator Ian Reynolds said the deal was the culmination of more than 12 months of negotiations between AAI and Central Coast Council staff.

MODEST: Plans to turn Central Coast Airport, at Warnervale, into an aviation hub are starting to take shape with the announcement of a new aircraft manufacturing plant to be built at the site. Picture: Ryan Osland

MODEST: Plans to turn Central Coast Airport, at Warnervale, into an aviation hub are starting to take shape with the announcement of a new aircraft manufacturing plant to be built at the site. Picture: Ryan Osland

“There were a number of locations that AAI were investigating and we’re pleased to have successfully attracted AAI to the Central Coast,” he said.

AAI is the type certificate holder to the HU-16 models A-E and G-111 Albatross amphibian aircraft.

Mr Reynolds said the deal with AAI was part of a wider vision to make the airport a hub for light to medium commercial general aviation. 

“Having an anchor tenant like AAI at Central Coast Airport will help put our region on the aviation industry map,” he said said.

The facility could be up and running in three to five years, subject to approvals.

LIFT-OFF: Central Coast Council's plans to transform the airport at Warnervale were given a $100m boost today. Picture: Ryan Osland

LIFT-OFF: Central Coast Council's plans to transform the airport at Warnervale were given a $100m boost today. Picture: Ryan Osland

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