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Alberta Aerospace eyes Utah as site for plant

SALT LAKE CITY -- The head of Alberta Aerospace, a Canadian manufacturer of small planes, told Gov. Mike Leavitt Wednesday of the company's interest in building an assembly plant near the Ogden-Hinckley Airport.

"They are anxious to find out what the state can do to make it easier for them to locate here," Ted Stewart, Leavitt's chief of staff, said after the governor met Alberta Aerospace Chairman and CEO John R. McIntee.Leavitt's office recommended the company look to Utah Technology Finance Corp. as a possible source of funding for the venture.

Williams International makes FJ44 Fanjet engines near the Ogden airport and would supply the engine for Alberta's Phoenix Fanjet aircraft, a single-engine plane that Alberta plans to make in two-seat and four-seat configurations.

Alberta Aerospace already had advised Ogden Mayor Glenn Mecham and Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, about the idea.

"These guys are for real," Hansen spokesman Steve Peterson said. "They have a very compelling case. The thing is they don't have a whole lot of backing at this point."

The company thinks it can sell as many 18,000 of the new planes. Alberta Aerospace also is considering an assembly plant in Michigan, which has offered an attractive incentive package, Peterson said.