Roswell Facility Will Serve as Major Hub for Airline Industry
ROSWELL, N.M. – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham joined executives from Ascent Aviation and local and state officials on Saturday to break ground on a new Roswell facility that will serve as a major hub for airline maintenance and repair.
The Ascent Aviation expansion at the Roswell Air Center was one of the first rural economic development projects approved by Gov. Lujan Grisham since she took office in January of 2019. It is now moving forward with a commitment of $4 million of economic assistance from the State of New Mexico’s Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) job-creation fund.
Ascent is expanding from its home in Arizona and expects to open in New Mexico by the end of the year. The company plans to hire 360 employees in Roswell with an average salary of over $60,000.
Chaves County has committed an additional $3 million in utility and infrastructure improvements and Ascent plans to invest $20 million into the New Mexico location. The project is expected to have a statewide economic impact of $545 million over 10 years.
“Impactful projects like these are exactly what the state should be investing in,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “Together, with the private sector and local governments, we are putting Roswell on the map for aviation repair and maintenance. This is how we grow jobs in rural areas, by investing in communities to build a more diversified and resilient economic future.”
Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said Gov. Lujan Grisham has been steadfast in her support of the LEDA fund, which is used to assist economic-base companies offset expansion and relocations costs for land, buildings, and infrastructure.
“The commitment from the community to the Air Center goes back decades. Roswell and Chaves County have long recognized this facility as an asset, a gem really, with the potential to attract new businesses and create jobs with some partnerships, some commitments, and some investment,” Secretary Keyes said. “Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham gets this. She understands that communities need help closing big deals. She knows that State resources can leverage significant private investment and benefit New Mexico families.”
Ascent is also partnering with Eastern New Mexico University’s branch campus in Roswell and Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque to provide scholarships and internships for the next generation of aviation maintenance technicians. Thanks to the administration’s Opportunity Scholarship, some students are earning certificates or associates degrees in aviation maintenance tuition-free.
Since taking office in 2019, Gov. Lujan Grisham has authorized LEDA investment assistance to 13 rural projects with private investment of $224 million. The expansions will create 1,300 jobs and the average salary for LEDA-assisted companies in calendar year 2001 was over $90,000.
Ascent Aviation is branded as a one-stop shop for aircraft maintenance including storage, maintenance, reclamation, and fueling. It services narrow, wide-body, and regional aircraft and has authorizations on Boeing, Bombardier, Embraer, and Airbus aircraft. It also services airlines, cargo operators, leasing companies, and VIPs.
Ascent has two facilities in Arizona with approximately 500 employees. Its locations at the Pinal Air Park and Tucson International Airport span 1,230 acres and boast five hangars.
As a former strategic bomber base for the U.S. Air Force that closed in 1967, the Roswell Air Center is already used by airlines and leasing companies for storage of unused jets and private planes. The facility has a 13,000-foot-long runway and is suitable for larger, heavier wide-body planes. The 500 planes parked in Roswell frequently need maintenance, paint, or repairs and often have to be flown elsewhere for those services.