Local News

Air Force bid could mean jobs for eastern N.C.

Posted July 8, 2010 2:58 p.m. EDT
Updated July 8, 2010 6:49 p.m. EDT

— An aerospace company wants to build a new fleet of U.S. Air Force aerial refueling tankers in North Carolina, and that could mean more jobs for Goldsboro and other parts of the state.

EADS North America announced Thursday that it is bidding on a government contract to build the KC-45 tanker airplane. If selected, production would support 1,500 workers in North Carolina.

Any new jobs are positive news for the Wayne County community, which had an unemployment rate of 8.4 percent, according to most recent numbers, said Bill Pate, branch manager for the Goldsboro-Wayne County office of the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

If it wins the bid, AAR Cargo Systems in Goldsboro would be among more than 200 American companies involved in developing the KC-45 tanker airplane.

Over the past 10 years, Pate said, the community has lost thousands of jobs after mills and plants have closed.

EADS officials said Thursday they expect it to be several months before they hear from the Air Force about their bid.

Other tanker suppliers, such as Kidde Safety System Inc. in Wilson and General Electric in Durham and Wilmington, could also see jobs, as well as other companies in Charlotte, Rocky Point and Monroe, company officials said.