The Navajo Nation has partnered with Utilicraft Aerospace Industries Inc., to produce a newly-designed, specialized feeder freight aircraft called the FF-1080-300.
The arrangement calls for establishing three aircraft sub-assembly plants on the Navajo Nation that will create hundreds of jobs and provide millions of dollars to the Navajo economy, according to Joe Shirley Jr., Navajo Nation President.
Utilicraft Aerospace has agreed to establish its final assembly facility at the Double Eagle II Airport near Albuquerque, N.M.
Earlier this month, Shirley and Utilicraft Aerospace CEO John J. Dupont signed a memorandum of understanding that would have the Navajo Nation invest $34 million to become a 25% equity partner in Utilicraft Aerospace.
Utilicraft Aerospace has an agreement with Global Air Group of Brisbane, Australia, for the purchase of 100 FF-1080 aircraft for $1.2 billion. The company also has an agreement with WSI Hong Kong, Ltd., for 300 FF-1080 aircraft. The company anticipates producing 96 aircraft a year.
The aircraft is an all-aluminum, twin-engine, high-wing, fixed-landing gear plane specifically designed to transport air freight. It has a gross weight of 70,000 lbs. and can transport 20,000 pounds up to 1,000 nm. The plane, which has been in development 13 years, is expected to receive certification in about two years.