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February 8, 2013

Laurentian Aerospace seeking funding alternatives

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH —

That is based on three reasons, he said.

About 40 percent of wide-body aircraft operated by North American-based air carriers now have required heavy-maintenance checks done in the Far East, Edwards said. One reason for that, he said, is a lack of sufficient facilities to perform that work in North America.  

In a September 2012 report, the International Air Transport Association stated that fuel prices had risen 8.5 percent in the past year and were expected to increase costs in the global airline industry by $32 billion. That could lead North American airlines to seek to have heavy maintenance performed in this part of the world, but would require new facilities, Edwards said.

Another reason carriers turned to getting maintenance done in the Far East was lower wages among those who do such work. Edwards said the minimum wage in that region is increasing.

He said the Wall Street Journal reported on March 31, 2012, that the City of Beijing increased its minimum wage by 8.5 percent in January 2012, the City of Shenzhen did so by 14 percent in February 2012 and the City of Tianjin was slated to up its minimum pay by 13 percent that April.

That combination of factors has eroded some of the economic advantages that airlines found by having work done overseas.

‘ACTIVELY SEEKS FUNDS’

Laurentian officials now regret releasing the news that financing was in place, Edwards said.  

“In making the announcement in March 2011, we relied on agreements that had been entered into, and we had no way of knowing at the time that the terms of those agreements would not be lived up to,” he said.

He said they are thankful their partners have remained supportive.

“As for the future of the project, we can say that we are actively working on alternative financing options, that we don’t expect that process to continue for an extended period of time and that we will make future announcements about the project when we have definitive progress that we can report.”

Email Dan Heath: dheath@pressrepublican.com

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