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AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS SIGNS LEASE AT WURTSMITH AIR FORCE BASE: 50 JOBS CREATED NOW; 100-200 ANTICIPATED

 OSCODA, Mich., July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The Wurtsmith Base Conversion Authority (WBCA) today approved a lease agreement with American International Airways, Inc. (AIA), an Ypsilanti, Mich.-based air transport company that will use a portion of the base to expand its large aircraft maintenance and repair operations.
 Michigan Gov. John Engler and representatives from the office of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin joined AIA President Conrad Kalitta, WBCA Chair Gen. Earl T. O'Loughlin, Oscoda Supervisor Dean Wiltse and others at a lease-signing and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the base, which was closed as an Air Force installation on June 30.
 Kalitta said that AIA will hire approximately 50 new employees from the Oscoda area immediately, with plans for an additional 100-200 jobs in the next two years if expansion plans meet projections. AIA has already processed several hundred resumes and will make its final selections within the next few weeks, he said.
 Gov. Engler said, "This investment on the part of American International Airways represents another step forward in our effort to re-utilize the Wurtsmith Air Force Base. The end of the Cold War meant the end of military use for this base, but it also marked the beginning of a new era of cooperation to find other uses and new jobs for the people of Oscoda."
 Wurtsmith's closure severely impacted the Oscoda-area economy, with the loss of 4,869 jobs, between $70 million and $110 million in gross income to the region and 5,000-6,000 population decline, according to Carl Sachs, director of Oscoda's Office for Economic Adjustment.
 AIA will lease approximately 160,000 square feet, exclusive of airfield, and will occupy several hangars, a jet-engine test facility, maintenance shop and ground support facility.
 AIA's own fleet of B-747s, B-727s, DC-8s and DC-9s will undergo maintenance checks, overhauls and repairs at the new facility, Kalitta said. The company's smaller aircraft, such as Lear jets and Beech 18 turboprops, will continue to be maintained at AIA's Willow Run base, as will other AIA operations, he added.
 American International Airways, Inc. is the second major tenant for Wurtsmith and the first aviation tenant, O'Loughlin said.
 "We are proud to join the Oscoda community and play some small part in its economic revitalization," Kalitta said. "Our welcome, so far, has been tremendous, and we wish to thank Gen. O'Loughlin, Supervisor Wiltse, Mr. Sachs and (WBCA Executive Director) James Storey for all their hard work and outstanding cooperation in bringing us here," he added.
 American International Airways, Inc. is one of seven privately held Kalitta Companies, which offer worldwide air cargo and passenger charter services, as well as support services and sales.
 BACKGROUND INFORMATION - AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AIRWAYS, INC.
 American International Airways, Inc. is one of the seven Kalitta Companies, founded by former drag race champion Connie Kalitta.
 Based in Ypsilanti, the privately held companies have grown from a single aircraft operation in 1967 to a $150 million air transport company with over 1,000 employees and a fleet of B-747s, DC-8s, B-727s, DC-9s, Lear jets and Beech 18 turboprops.
 The Kalitta Companies offer worldwide air cargo services to freight forwarders and shippers; air ambulance and organ transplant transport to the health care industry; passenger charter services to individuals and businesses; as well as full maintenance services, accessories and instruments for both the Kalitta Companies' own aircraft and planes owned by others.
 The individual companies are:
 -- American International Airways Inc. -- a large-aircraft operation providing air freight and charter passenger services. AIA flies scheduled cargo routes to Los Angeles and Honolulu five times a week, continuing on to Australia once a week. It also provides worldwide chartered cargo services.
 -- Kalitta Flying Services, Inc. -- a small-aircraft cargo, passenger and air ambulance operation, operating out of Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, as well as Morristown, Tenn.
 -- American International Freight, Inc. -- a scheduled overnight cargo operation servicing 18 major cities throughout the U.S.
 -- Bounty Engine Services, Inc. -- an engine overhaul and repair service for large aircraft.
 -- Connie Kalitta Enterprises, Inc. -- an engine overhaul and repair service for turbine-powered aircraft.
 -- Aerodata Aircraft Instrument Services, Inc. -- a sales and repair operation for aircraft instruments such as altimeters, altitude alerters and engine-monitoring indicators.
 -- Bounty Aviation, Inc. -- a repair and overhaul operation for aircraft accessories such as generators pneumatic valves and voltage regulators.
 American International Airways, Inc. also provides a number of specialized services including:
 -- relief flights to disaster-stricken countries
 -- aeromedically trained flight nurses and medically equipped planes with special pressurization
 -- race horse and other animal transport
 -- exemption to transport Class A, B and C hazardous materials, including explosives
 -- U.S. Military and State Department flights
 -- U.S. and international customs arrangements and special permits
 -- computerized Flight Following System, providing minute-to-minute tracking and reporting of shipments
 In addition, American International Airways, Inc. is an approved contractor for the Military Air Command. The company was second only to Federal Express in supplying cargo airlift support during the recent Gulf War.
 Founder and CEO Connie Kalitta, a three-time world champion drag racer who twice established world speed records for dragsters, was recently named Michigan's 1993 "Master Entrepreneur of the Year" in a competition sponsored by Ernst & Young, Merrill Lynch and Inc. magazine.
 -0- 7/12/93
 /CONTACT: Carl Sachs, economic background, 517-739-6999; Rob Richardson, event details, 517-739-8900; J.B. Dixson, AIA public relations, 313-259-9770; or David Nevin, governor's press office, 517-335-6397/


CO: American International Airways, Inc.; Wurtsmith Base Conversion
 Authority ST: Michigan IN: AIR SU: CON


SB-ML -- DE015 -- 0512 07/12/93 14:51 EDT
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Date:Jul 12, 1993
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