January 19, 2005
Williams Gateway Airport officials were jubilant Tuesday as Cessna Aircraft Company signed a 40-year lease for 11.7 acres on the north side of the airport, with an option to lease another four acres.
Two Cessna vice presidents discussed more details of a planned service center during a Williams Gateway Airport Authority board meeting.
James Morgan, Cessna vice president for service facilities, said the Citation Service Center will provide round-theclock service for the company’s Citation business jets, "and it will have upwards of 100 positions, and these will be technical employees that can get the necessary training at the ASU campus and Embry-Riddle campus."
Arizona State University East, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Chandler-Gilbert Community College offer aviation-related courses at or near the adjacent ASU East campus.
Morgan said he "absolutely" expects a center to open within the two-year
window its lease at Williams Gateway gives them to start building a facility, and at completion will handle 30 to 50 planes at a time, each bringing at least two crew members with it.
Mesa Mayor Keno Hawker, the board’s chairman, made a point of signing the lease before Cessna’s representatives left the meeting, and four photos of Citation jets had been prominently displayed on the walls of the board’s meeting room.
The airport authority approved a resolution declaring intent to issue up to $20 million in bonds to build Cessna’s center, to be repaid through rent revenue.
Cessna’s parent company, Textron, is expected to purchase the bonds.