BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WBOY) — Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Regional Jet program known as MHIRJ held the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art hangar in Bridgeport.

This allows MHIRJ to set its position as the largest regional maintenance, repair, and overhaul service in the world. Many state and local dignitaries were present at the opening of the new hangar to celebrate the success all the workers put into the new facility. Officials said that the opening is a big milestone for the company and that they are investing in the state while providing the ability to grow their presence beyond the regional market.

“We’re putting together over 100,000 square feet of expansion here and we’re anchoring our growth strategy in the state of West Virginia,” said Ismail Mokabel, Senior Vice President and Head of Aftermarket for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Regional Jet. “Phase one and two is actually going to cost us over $25 Million and the plan is that if we’re successful we’ll go on with another phase, phase three.”

MHIRJ officials added they have a great relationship with the North Central West Virginia Airport and the collaboration between the two and that state allowed for the expansion.

“The airport was able to provide us with the real estate and all the facilities needed for us to be able to build this formidable infrastructure and the state support has been phenomenal in helping us go through this process very smoothly,” Mokabel said. “We love West Virginia, we have a qualified workforce that is highly trained, investments that is happening around the infrastructure of schools, training the workforce, and really developing the talent from within is what attracted us to West Virginia and what is going to make us stay in West Virginia.”

During the celebration, it was announced that the newly opened hangar would be named for Stephen McCoy and his work. Mokabel said that McCoy ran the business for more than a decade and stated that he made it his life mission to push for investment in the infrastructure. He also stated that they are in debt for McCoy’s service, and leadership, and for helping grow the business from being a small maintenance facility to the largest maintenance, repair and overhaul service in the United States.

“Stephen has been an ally, a mentor, and an advisor through the journey. When I took the helm of the aftermarket business and Bombardier. I mean, Stephen has been nothing but the best, as a guide I had through this transformation. And then when we got acquired by Mitsubishi helping us go through this, transform the business and grow it. I could have not done it without Mr. McCoy,” Mokabel said.

MHIRJ will have more than 30 different lines of maintenance allowing them to be able to service 30 different aircraft at any given time through their network. Officials said about half of those will be part of MHIRJ’s infrastructure in the Mountain State.

Also, Harrison County Commissioner and Chairman of the Board of Governors for Pierpont Community and Technology College, David Hinkle announced that Pierpont College and the state have started the process of replacing its existing A&P school.

“Our goal is to go out for engineering and architectural work here in the next few months, and we will be building a school twice the size we have now and attempt to put 200 students through a year in the next two years it takes to build we’ll begin that,” Hinkle said. “The new school will be around 64,000 square feet, two hangars, labs, and we’re going to be right here on the airport property when you enter into the new land that we leveled off of Rt. 279. The airport is graciously working with us for six acres. So, we are going to use about three acres and it will allow for expansion because Pierpont sees what’s going on here is very important to Central West Virginia, and the airport and the growth for MHI.”

In attendance was Bridgeport Mayor, Andy Lang, who said the city was able to obtain $15 million in federal funding to assist in the building project of the new terminal at the North Central West Virginia Airport. Construction of the new terminal is expected to start in the spring of 2023 and last approximately 18 months. Mayor Lang stated the total funding received for the project is roughly $32 million. Mayor Lang also thanked Mitsubishi Heavy Industry.