January 4, 2016

National Airlines' president writes that his company sees a bright future in Orlando, thanks to the "Power of Partnership"

When National Air Cargo Holdings announced the relocation of our headquarters and airline offices to Orlando a little more than two years ago, the plan was for us to grow our freight and charter services in an aviation-rich environment for our employees.

Never did we anticipate that the support we received from state and local partners would lead to the launch of scheduled passenger service as "Orlando's Hometown Airline."

Just last month, we launched our first-ever scheduled passenger service, with nonstop flights from Orlando Sanford International Airport to San Juan and Windsor, Ontario. And next year, we'll add nonstop routes to St. John's, Newfoundland, with more destinations to come.

We were drawn to Orlando — and to Florida — by the strong regional airport system, the proximity to a world-class port that opened opportunities for multimodal cargo operations, and by a mix of state and local performance-based incentives that allowed us to invest quickly in job recruitment and growth.

How much growth?

We planned to create 105 high-value jobs within two years. We've more than doubled that projection, and we're still growing.

None of this would have been possible without the support and investment of Enterprise Florida, the city of Orlando and the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission. We have been pleasantly surprised by the strength of economic development partnerships here, and by the pragmatic approach to diversifying Florida's economy and industrial base.

In fact, the businesslike approach of state and local governments to compete on the global stage is one reason we had the confidence to expand into scheduled passenger service and invest in new jobs.

We see a tremendously bright future here in our new hometown. The airline industry is producing strong business returns that will in turn attract additional investment capital. University assets including Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida provide access to a highly trained work force.

Orlando is now the home of National Airlines. Our headquarters is here. Our pilots and flight attendants are based here. We have become EDC investors and proudly display the "Orlando — You Don't Know the Half of It" logo on our passenger aircraft.

That's the power of economic development. That's the power of partnership. We're proud of the relationships we've built in Florida and look forward to introducing even more people to our new hometown.