Demand from Honda Aircraft, other aviation firms fueling Kernersville company's growth

Demand from customers such as Honda Aircraft Co., Cessna and other aviation firms is leading a Kernersville manufacturer of aircraft parts to increase its work force. TruAtlantic Manufacturing is seeking to hire 20 or more workers including “very talented machinists" — both new and experienced — over the next year to bring its work force to between 70 and 75, said Russ Porter, the company's general manager.

The firm has already grown from approximately 40 employees in 2013 to 52 today. TruAtlantic is adding workers because of demand from a customer base that has approximately doubled over the last two years. Porter said about 15 percent of TruAtlantic's business comes from Honda Aircraft, which expects to achieve final FAA type certification in the next few months and begin deliveries of the jet to customers thereafter. The company makes a variety of components for the $4.5 million HondaJet being developed at the Piedmont Triad International Airport, from door hinges to pieces that go on the wings and fuselage. As the company ups production, “they will contact us to make more of their parts," Porter said. “I will be surprised if that’s not up to 25 percent by this time next year,” he said.

He said TruAtlantic is one of Honda Aircraft’s main suppliers in North Carolina. “They want us to grow, they want us to be part of their team,” he said. Other customers of TruAtlantic include Quest Aircraft of Idaho and Lee Aerospace of Wichita, Kan. With business booming, TruAtlantic plans to expand within a 56,000-square-foot building at the South Park Business Center off Highway 66 South in Kernersville. The firm already occupies half of the building. "We had just outgrown the square footage we were in, and we needed to grow more manufacturing space as well as storage and distribution space,"he said.

TruAltantic is part of Greenwich AeroGroup. Porter said TruAtlantic was once a division of Atlantic Aero, a former Greenwich company located at the Piedmont Triad International Airport that was bought by Landmark Aviation last year. TruAtlantic split from Atlantic Aero and moved to Kernersville about eight years ago, he said.

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