Products

MD to Stay in Mesa, At Least for Awhile

By Staff Writer | June 1, 2008

PRODUCTS | AIRFRAMES

MD Helicopters last month reached a deal with Mesa, Ariz. to continue operating from the city-owned Falcon Field Airport. But the manufacturer is still looking elsewhere for a bigger home, at least according to published reports.

Officials of the helicopter maker and the city signed a new, five-year lease on MD’s production facility at Falcon Field on May 13. MD had threatened to move after the city raised its rent on the 30-acre site. MD Chairman and CEO Lynn Tilton had said she was looking for a larger site that could accommodate MD, the Heritage Aviation completions shop in Grand Prairie, Texas (which she owns through her New York distressed-debt investment company Patriarch Partners) and a very light jet manufacturer she said she planned to buy.

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MD has been negotiating with airports in Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Apparently it still is.

The Herald Democrat newspaper of Sherman, Texas said Tilton told it on May 13 that she still wants to find a 100-acre site to expand MD’s operations and that she should decide on the location of that expansion within "the next few weeks." North Texas Regional Airport in nearby Denison, Texas is one site under consideration. Others include Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport south of Falcon Field, Shreveport, La. Regional Airport and Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.

The Herald Democrat quoted Tilton as saying, "We renewed the lease [in Mesa] so we wouldn’t have to move rapidly." Any move would require MD to obtain a new production certificate from the FAA approving its manufacturing activities.

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