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Aviation company expands to Provo

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OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Duncan Aviation says it will be opening an aircraft maintenance base in Provo, Utah, by summer 2010.

It will be the third major facility for the Lincoln-based, family owned company. In addition to Lincoln and the planned Utah facility, Duncan has a base in Battle Creek, Mich.

Lori Johnson, Duncan's marketing communications manager, said Friday the company will be transplanting a total of about 100 employees from Battle Creek and Lincoln to Provo. The company envisions a payroll of 650 in Provo within 15 years, she said.

In a news release, chairman Todd Duncan said the company began looking for potential service center sites in the western United States nearly two years ago.

So why Provo?

Johnson said the company was looking for a city that matched what the company enjoyed in Lincoln and Battle Creek. Criteria included the size of the city, the quality of the local schools and "the community feeling."

"It also got into things like wages," she said. "If you go completely West Coast you have higher wages."

As part of a development package, Utah will allow Duncan Aviation $6.6 million in performance-based tax incentives, and Provo will provide $5 million in tax increment financing to help build a ramp from the runway to Duncan's future hangar.

Johnson said "the incentives certainly helped," but the final decision "was not incentive-driven."

The company expects the base at Provo Municipal Airport will be completed by August 2010 and will provide services for airframes, engines, avionics, interiors and exteriors.

The company has about 2,100 employees and boasts more than 20 satellite operations elsewhere in country.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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