From the News Service of Florida:
A global aerospace company will spread its wings for the next several years in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday at an air show outside London. Expansion plans by Thales USA will bring 500 jobs to Orlando and Brevard County, along with more than $20 million in new construction to those communities, an announcement from Scott's office said. The expansion by Thales also comes with up to $2.5 million in state and local incentives.
"We met with Thales at the Paris Air Show last year, and it's great to make this exciting announcement today in London," Scott said in a statement.
Scott is heading an Enterprise Florida trade mission to the Farnborough International Air Show. Thales USA is part of the French-multinational Thales Group, which also has officials attending Farnborough. Scott, scheduled be in England until Wednesday, is using the air show to highlight Florida's aerospace industry.
The decision by Thales, which provides in-flight entertainment systems and other services, was made outside air-show appearances. Florida's incentive funding, contingent upon meeting job benchmarks, is slated to come from the Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund program, which requires a 20 percent local match.
The Brevard County Commission voted 4-1 to support funding on May 17 after being advised that an unnamed company, listed on an agenda as Project Marathon, would move existing operations from next to Orlando Melbourne International Airport to California if the government failed to provide tax credits for the new jobs.
The commission approved up to $327,000 in exchange for an anticipated 327 "high-tech engineering and design" jobs that would pay an average $64,356 and be created by the end of 2020. The $327,000 would represent a 20 percent local portion of an overall $1.6 million state and local package, though the Brevard County agenda does not spell out the total funding. The company also would spend $31.2 million for the construction of a 100,000- to 120,000-square-foot facility.
Thales currently employs about 250 in Melbourne. The 173 new jobs to accompany the expansion, paying an average annual wage of $53,255, are also expected to be in place by the end of 2020.