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BATTLE CREEK, MI-Duncan Aviation Inc. says it will invest $19.5 million to expand its operations in Battle Creek instead of at the company headquarters. The aviation maintenance company says the expansion, which has been in the works since fall 2000, would add 125,000 sf to its existing 200,000-sf facility at W.K. Kellogg Airport. Groundbreaking is set for June 7.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. approved a tax credit worth more than $2.2 million over six years to win the project. The City of Battle Creek has proposedan additional incentive through the city’s Tax Increment Finance Authority, offering to construct 142,000 sf of aircraft ramp, additional paving and rerouting of the road to service the expansion. The value of the city’s contribution is estimated at morethan $1.3 million.

“We have been discussing and planning this expansion for a few years, and the timing is now right to begin,” says Aaron Hilkemann, president of Duncan Aviation. “In 2006, Duncan Aviation will celebrate its 50th year in business. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to unveil a new facility at the end of that year. The additional capacity in Michigan will give us room to grow and will contribute to the overall growth of Duncan Aviation.”

Established in 1956, Duncan Aviation has grown into the largest family-owned aircraft support services provider in North America. The company maintains andinspects all major aircraft brands including Cessna, Learjet, Falcon, Challenger and Gulfstream. Duncan employs 1,800 nationwide including 467 at its facilities in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo.

“We are pleased and honored that the company has decided to expand in Michigan. It shows that the state’s incredible transportation expertise is not confined to the automobile,” says Battle Creek Unlimited president and CEO Jim Hettinger.

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