Texas-based Draken International, an aerospace company owning the world's largest commercial fleet of privately-owned tactical aircraft, is making its home at the North Carolina Global TransPark in Kinston, North Carolina.
Draken plans to help prepare pilots at nearby Seymour Johnson Air Force Base by acting as the enemy force during training missions and war games. The company will provide similar services for the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
"The North Carolina Global TransPark is the perfect long-term partner for Draken International," said Bill Tart, COO at Draken. “The mission-focused attitudes of everyone we've been associated with, from the airport management, to the DOT, to the car dealerships and local businesses we need to partner with for our success, have been the key ingredient of our ability to support the airmen at Seymour Johnson so quickly. The infrastructure investment in runway, taxiway and hangars showed us that North Carolina and Kinston are serious about growing their aviation industry."
“This is a win for North Carolina, and will be a tremendous asset for the military and provide an economic boost for the region," said Eric Boyette, secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation, which is the umbrella agency for the TransPark. “This would not have happened without the partnership between Draken, the Global TransPark, the state and local community leaders."
The company has leased hangar and office space at the Global TransPark, according to Boyette.
Draken's selection of the Global TransPark proves that North Carolina has the infrastructure and assets to attract and support aerospace and defense related industries," president and CEO for the Global TransPark John Rouse said. “Their arrival highlights why the Global TransPark is an ideal location to start, grow or relocate an aerospace or aviation related business."
By locating in Kinston, Draken will be stationed near their primary customers at the two military installations and able to provide up to 1,000 support missions each year. Initially, the operation will consist of eight A-4 Skyhawk Fighters based at the Global TransPark and approximately 40 workers already employed by Draken.
“This illustrates our strategic vision for how the Global TransPark can grow and how we can help the TransPark reach its full potential," chairman of the Global TransPark Authority Board of Directors Norris Tolson said.