PLATTSBURGH -- Pratt and Whitney Canada will close its test facility at Plattsburgh International Airport effective Oct. 31.
Pratt & Whitney Canada Spokesman Jean-Daniel Hameline said there are presently 22 employees at the test facility.
The company will do its best to find employees jobs at other Pratt and Whitney locations, he said, and employees will be offered a severance package if that is not possible.
Hameline said employees and contractors were informed of the decision Thursday. In addition to employees, he said, up to 40 contractors might be working with the company at any time.
"Our employees can work there until Oct. 31, and that's what we'd like them to do," Hameline said.
The Longueuil-based company is relocating operations of the Plattsburgh facility and one in St. Hubert, Quebec, to Mirabel International Airport, 30 miles north of Montreal, he said. According to a Pratt & Whitney news release, the company plans to invest $90 million to build a new facility there.
Hameline said a small group of employees will be kept on a few additional weeks to support the transition to Mirabel. It will be using a temporary facility at Mirabel until the new facility is complete, sometime in the spring of 2009.
Mirabel is a desirable location because it is an air-cargo airport located in a non-urban area with a runway capable of handling larger aircraft.
In the news release, Pratt & Whitney Canada Senior Vice President for Service Centers and Operations Benoit Brossoit said, "Mirabel gives us access to efficient world-class infrastructures to meet our growing flight test needs for years to come, and is also close to a critical mass of major aerospace companies."
"Establishing this single, state-of-the-art facility will improve our competitiveness and support flight testing for the complete range of Pratt & Whitney engines, from turboprops to turbofans (with) up to 90,000 pounds of thrust. We have recently won several competitions to supply engines for new aircraft, and we need to evolve our flight test engines to support this growth."
Pratt & Whitney and the Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corp. reached an agreement to locate the test facility at the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base in 1999. At that time, the company was expected to pay at least $500,000 of rent a year to PARC.
The company was expected to receive $1.3 million from PARC and $2.5 million from the state of New York to renovate the hangar it occupies.
Pratt & Whitney used a Boeing 720 to test engines in Plattsburgh. That aircraft is being moved to Mirabel, but Pratt & Whitney plans to use two Boeing B747SP test aircraft by the time the new facility is finished.
The company leases the hangar at the airport from Clinton County. County Deputy Administrator Rodney Brown said the county will be looking for another tenant.
"It's sort of a unique building. There may be interest out there because there aren't many buildings of that size," he said.