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OPA-LOCKA, FL-Safire Aircraft Co. plans to build a new, $40 million, 500,000-sf aircraft assembly facility and headquarters at Opa-locka Airport here, north of Miami. The assembly plant construction plans are close to being finalized. The ground-breaking is set for late summer 2004.Safire currently is located in approximately 30,000 sf at Opa-Locka Airport. The company relocated there from Palm Beach County.

The move is expected to create more than 1,000 new direct and indirect jobs, including engineering and production jobs, in the next three years.

“The new location of Safire Aircraft Co. to Opa-locka Airport is a significant step in the right direction for the aviation sector in Miami-Dade County, and a primary focus area ever since the creation of One Community One Goal,” Frank Nero, president and CEO of the economic development organization The Beacon Council, says in a statement. “Moves of this nature will help improve our county’s and state’s profile in this crucial industry.

The Beacon Council helped Safire Aircraft Co. select the site and package incentives.

“This marks the beginning of a long-term symbiotic relationship between government and industry,” Camilo Salomon, president and CEO of Safire Aircraft Co., states.

Safire Aircraft’s new generation, six-place jet is scheduled to be delivered in 2006, pending Federal Aviation Administration certification. By 2009, the company expects production to peak at more than 500 planes a year. This would mean employing more than 700 production people to produce around two aircraft each day, according to Joe Cox, vice president of operations and manufacturing for Safire Aircraft.

Safire Aircraft Co. was formed in 1998. The company builds low-cost, quality, light aircraft.

The Beacon Council is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership in Miami-Dade County that emphasizes creating jobs and growing the economy by coordinating community programs, promoting minority business and urban economic revitalization, assisting local businesses in expansion efforts, and marketing the county all over the world.

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