Jet Aviation's acquisition by General Dynamics Corp. is "not really" a factor in whether it goes forward with plans to put operations in Ogden, a Jet Aviation spokesman said Monday.

Patrick Sniffen, vice president of marketing and communications for Jet Aviation, said that while the company has yet to act on a financial incentive from the state of Utah, the company is working on the business model and is optimistic to have some activities operating in Ogden early next year.

"We're optimistic that this is going to occur," Sniffen said. "At this point, I'm not hearing any reservations from our folks here ... From the information I've been given, it's all systems go."

General Dynamics Corp. said last week that it will buy Jet Aviation for about $2.25 billion in cash, part of the defense contractor's push to expand its private civilian jet business and tap into robust demand for luxury planes overseas.

"The Ogden matter really predated the General Dynamics deal, so while there will be some consideration, it's not really a factor in the decisionmaking process at the moment," Sniffen said.

In July, the Governor's Office of Economic Development Board approved a $8.3 million incentive — an $8 million tax credit and a $294,000 Industrial Assistance Fun grant — for Jet Aviation. The state hoped that the company would put more than 650 jobs over 15 years at a facility at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport that would maintain, repair and overhaul business aircraft and be a service center.

Much of the $6.9 million capital investment would be at leased space formerly occupied by now-bankrupt Adam Aircraft.

Jet Aviation, a Swiss company, said in May that it had signed a letter of intent with Kemp Development Inc. of Ogden to have Jet Aviation Ogden in operation by this fall, adding up to 200 people over the next two years. Sniffen said Monday that some maintenance and other operations could be in place as early as January or February.

The company said in May that its maintenance facility would be 70,000 square feet of hangars and workshops that would provide heavy maintenance, component repair, refurbishment and painting for mid- to large-cabin aircraft. Jet Aviation said it would assume the existing operations of Kemp Jet Services. The executive terminal, hangars and offices occupy 51,000 square feet and include the terminal, fueling, a pilot "snooze" room, a pilot lounge, weather and flight planning and an on-site restaurant.

Jet Aviation has 25 service and maintenance centers in Europe, the Middle East and North and South America. General Dynamic's aerospace unit, which includes Gulfstream, has 12 service centers, with all but one located in the United States.

General Dynamics, based in Falls Church, Va., expects Jet Aviation to contribute sales of $1.5 billion in 2009 and post revenue growth of 10 percent to 12 percent. Jet Aviation employs 5,600 employees worldwide and has its U.S. headquarters in Teterboro, N.J.

The deal, expected to close by year-end, calls for General Dynamics to acquire all of Jet Aviation's shares from current owner Dreamliner Lux S.a.r.l., which is controlled by the British investment fund Permira Funds. The new business unit would be within the General Dynamics Aerospace group, operating under the Jet Aviation and Midcoast Aviation brands.

Contributing: Associated Press

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