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Aviation firm plans $13M airport complex

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SMITHIFIELD — Johnston County commissioners approved a $100,000 economic incentive grant Monday for Blue Line Aviation.

This $13 million project will include a hangar and flight school for both private and commercial aviation at the Johnston Regional Airport. Blue Line Aviation will receive the tax incentive grant after fulfilling its commitment to Johnston County.

“Johnston Regional Airport is a significant economic development asset in the heart of Johnston County and the greater Triangle region. Blue Line Aviation’s decision to choose our airport for their aviation complex is a reinforcement of the economic asset this airport is for Johnston County,” said Ken Starling, chairman of the Johnston County Airport Authority. “We are very pleased to have Blue Line Aviation partner with us as we work to develop and expand the potential at Johnston County the premier location for economic development, business travel and now aviation training.”

Blue Line President and CEO Trey Walters said in a news release that Johnston County “is the best location in the region for the expansion of our business, new offerings while serving clients locally and globally.”

“We look forward to a long-term partnership with the Johnston County Airport Authority to continue to develop the airport into a gateway to the world for members of the community,” Walters said “We are equally excited about developing programs and partnerships within Johnston County, like the Johnston County Public Schools, and Johnston Community College.”

Airport director Phil Lanier said the public-private partnership “ represents an extremely effective capital development model that we can all get behind and support.”

In addition to direct job-creation impact, officials said the Blue Line Aviation Complex enhances the airport’s value as a transportation asset.

“The Johnston County Regional Airport is a vital part of economic development in Johnston County,” said commissioners Chairman Ted Godwin “We are proud to strongly support Blue Line Aviation and will continue to encourage the growth and success of this important partnership as we work hard with the Johnston County Airport Authority to create the very best general aviation airport in the Triangle region.”