Private jet co. at Global Transpark boondoggle got $30 million from state budget

It gets harder and harder to stomach the liars slithering away from Jones Street to bombard their voters with the word “conservative.”  Not much they’ve done qualifies as conservative.  Spending has exploded.  The tax burden on North Carolinians is as high as it was when the Democrats last ran the show in the General Assembly.

Never have I seen a bunch who has had to be so brow-beaten and bullied — just to get them to do the right thing. 

They tried to sneak casinos and gambling past us in the secretly-negotiated state budget.  The powers-that-be blinked and folded in the wake of withering grassroots heat.

Now here’s one more piece of The Grift™ being exposed to sunlight for all to see:

The private jet company flyExclusive can do just about anything to its fleet of 100 airplanes at the N.C. Global TransPark in Kinston. Repairs and routine maintenance, sure, but the company also has a hangar for stripping paint off planes and another for painting them.

There’s a room for assembling and laying out the miles of wiring needed in each jet and another for turning the hides of Austrian and German bulls into leather seats and wall coverings. But one thing flyExclusive can’t do in Kinston is train its pilots. And for that, it’s getting help from taxpayers.

The state budget passed by the General Assembly in September provides $30 million to the N.C. Department of Transportation for “construction of a flight training and corporate office facility at the Global TransPark.”

That money will allow the state-owned park to build a five-story building for flyExclusive that will include office space as well as flight simulators where pilots can hone their skills. FlyExclusive is an anomaly in Eastern North Carolina — a luxury brand that jets well-heeled customers to vacation houses, resorts and business meetings all over the country and beyond. […]

Gee, that makes me feel all warm inside as I pay more and more and more — thanks to government overregulation and mismanagement – for gas, groceries and medication, among other things.

Oh, by the way, as late as 2019 the Global Transpark’s finances were being scrutinized and heavily criticized by the state auditor.  (“Open to corruption,” they said.)

But, I digress.


[…] Founder and CEO Jim Segrave, a Kinston native, chose to build his company here in part at the urging of his family, which has deep connections to the TransPark and its mission to attract businesses to a region battered by declines in traditional industries such as textiles and tobacco.

Segrave wants his company to handle every aspect of its business in-house, from answering calls from customers to fixing planes. Pilot training is the biggest missing piece. FlyExclusive has about 300 pilots scattered across the country and expects to hire dozens more in the coming years, and now relies on training centers elsewhere.

“We’re not having a lot of trouble recruiting them, but getting them trained is the bottleneck,” Segrave said in an interview. “Getting slots for simulators at the sim centers all over the country, and the delay and the expense on top of it, is why this was so important to us.” Segrave wanted the training center in Kinston, both for efficiency and to help steep pilots in company culture. But he said other airports were making offers.

So flyExclusive hired a lobbyist and, along with the Global TransPark, went to lawmakers looking for money.

“So it’s where can we make our best deal,” he said. “That said, we want to be here. We’d like to come up with the best deal and build our campus out and our business right here in Eastern North Carolina.”

Segrave said he isn’t sure who put the $30 million into the state budget, which is crafted behind closed doors. Neither House Speaker Tim Moore nor Senate leader Phil Berger’s offices responded to repeated requests for comment about the money from The News & Observer.[…]

Oh BULL-CRAPPE.  Those two guys know everything about everything that passes out of that monstrosity on Jones Street.  Those two led negotiations on the budget.  Nothing happens in that building without one or both of them knowing it and blessing it.

I’d also give a hard look, and direct some pointed questions, at Rep. Chris Humphrey and Senator Jim Perry. 


[…] ‘Segrave estimates the building will cost between $35 million and $40 million, with flyExclusive making up the difference. The company will also install three flight simulators, at a cost of $12 million each.


FlyExclusive has gotten help from the state before. In 2018, the company received a $2.3 million Job Development Investment Grant or JDIG, $2 million from NCDOT and $1 million from the N.C. Global TransPark Foundation to help build the paint buildings.

In that case, the company had to create 145 jobs to receive the money, something it has done. In contrast, there are no strings attached to the $30 million grant in the state budget. But the Global TransPark will own the building that it will lease to flyExclusive through a long-term agreement that is still being worked out.

“So we get the benefit of that $30 million investment for some period of time,” Segrave said. “But they invested in themselves, and they still own it.”

The General Assembly created the N.C. Global TransPark in the early 1990s as a place where companies would set up manufacturing plants around a runway, shuttling components in and completed products out.

But the park, about 80 miles southeast of Raleigh, has struggled to attract tenants, and most of its 2,500 acres remain empty. FlyExclusive is the park’s largest employer, followed by Spirit Aerosystems, which produces fuselage sections for Airbus passenger jets and ships them to France, through the port at Morehead City, for final assembly.

The General Assembly hopes to attract more. In addition to the flyExclusive grant, this year’s budget includes $175 million over the next two years to build a Navy aircraft repair and overhaul facility. The Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center East at Cherry Point leased a hangar at the TransPark in 2020 to work on H1 helicopters and is interested in expanding, according to NCDOT spokeswoman Bridgette Barthe.

The budget anticipates the state eventually spending $350 million on the Navy facility, assuming the state and federal governments can settle on a lease agreement. The TransPark would repay the money over time when the Navy starts paying rent. […]