Embrarer seeks incentives to build planes

Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is asking for $150,000 worth of state and local tax incentives if it decides to add 50 jobs in Jacksonville by assembling military planes at Jacksonville International Airport.

The company is considering investing $3.8 million in a vacant 40,000-square-foot hangar to assemble turboprop light attack aircraft, known as Super Tucanos, according to Jacksonville Economic Development Commission documents.

The average salary of Embraer’s potential workers is about $49,500, and the nature of the work makes the company eligible for a tax benefit of $3,000 per job through the state’s qualified industry tax refund program. The City of Jacksonville would pay for $30,000 of the incentives, with the State of Florida picking up the rest.

The company is also considering setting up the assembly operations at its facilities in Hartford, Conn., and Nashville, Tenn. Seventeen months after state and company officials celebrated the groundbreaking of a 71,000-square-foot facility for the company at Cecil Field in 2004, Embraer put its plans on hold.

The U.S. Army canceled its $879 million contract with Lockheed Martin to build a spy plane after it learned the company’s electronics were incompatible with Embraer’s ERJ 145 aircraft, which would have carried the airborne radar and surveillance equipment. Embraer had intended to invest $10 million in infrastructure and hire about 200 workers in high-paying jobs at Cecil Field

The Jacksonville Economic Development Commission is expected to vote on the incentive package Thursday. The package requires City Council approval.