MHIRJ closes Macon maintenance facility less than a year after opening

The Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority terminated the lease at Middle Georgia Regional Airport at the company’s request


Macon-Bibb County

Macon-Bibb County leaders joined MHIRJ executives on April 13, 2022, to cut the ribbon on the new maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Middle Georgia Regional Airport.

Nearly a year after MHIRJ cut a ribbon to open its new aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Middle Georgia Regional Airport, the company closed its Macon Service Center.

Monday, with a promotional video highlighting clips from the ribbon-cutting ceremony playing on a loop in the boardroom, the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority terminated the three-year lease at the request of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries subsidiary.

All references to the company have been removed from the authority’s website, but MHIRJ will pay out the rest of their lease, said Stephen Adams, MBCIA executive director.

“We welcomed MHIRJ’s move to Macon-Bibb last year, and we will be sorry to see the go,” Adams said. “If the future brings an opportunity for them to come back to Middle Georgia, we would certainly welcome them again.”

In January of 2022, the company intended to open two maintenance lines at the airport initially, and eventually expand to four lines employing about 200 people. It was MHIRJ’s first investment in Georgia and was meant to enhance the company’s U.S. footprint along with existing operations in Bridgeport, WV, and Tuscon, AZ. The Macon addition would have allowed MHIRJ to cover the nation’s East, West and South.

Nathalie Scott, director of MHIRJ’s Corporate Communications and Media Relations, said the decision had nothing to do with the local workforce or airport facility, but blamed the “worsening pilot shortage” that was “increasing turbulence in our customers’ operations,”  Scott said.

In an emailed response to an inquiry from The Macon Newsroom, Scott replied: “Since the expected customer demand didn’t materialize, we made the difficult decision to terminate the service offering in Macon.”

The MHIRJ operation that is based in Montreal, Canada, provides a variety of services for the regional aircraft industry across the globe in aviation hubs in Canada, the United States and Germany.

Adams agreed that MHIRJ’s decision was based on economic factors beyond the control of the company and the industrial authority.

“What we’re seeing here locally is a symptom of a broader challenge,” Adams said. “There’s a national shortage of pilots and it’s impacting industries and communities across the country.”

Macon-Bibb County and the local industrial authority have identified aerospace as one of the region’s targeted industries for recruitment.

The county is expanding the runway from 6,500 feet to 7,100 feet to accommodate larger aircraft and plans to enhance the airport’s amenities to attract business.

Civic Journalism Senior Fellow Liz Fabian covers Macon-Bibb County government entities and can be reached at [email protected] or 478-301-2976.