Proposed Embraer expansion could mean new jobs at Melbourne airport



MELBOURNE, Fla. - A decision is expected to be made soon on whether jet maker Embraer can expand its operations at Melbourne International Airport.

Board members of the Melbourne Airport Authority will decide if the company can go ahead with a 22-acre expansion that would bring new high-paying jobs to the area.

"In addition to the 600 direct jobs, there are an anticipated additional 850 or so spin-off jobs. So, you're looking at 1,5000 jobs created from the project," said Keevin Williams, with Space Florida.

Other benefits include the company's capital and payroll investments over the course of a more than 20-year agreement.

The plans involves an expansion of Embraer's facilities on the airport property that would be built and owned by the airport.

Many believe the proposal is worth the economic risk.

"This is a project where the company could have chose to locate any place in the world, not just any place in Florida," said Williams. "You have a high level of economic impact."

The new manufacturing jobs would add to those at Embraer's existing research and development facility, which has a ribbon-cutting in just two weeks.