Duluth aircraft base fails to land military contract

Borsight Inc. had proposed to service the U.S. Air Force's fleet of F-16 Fighting Falcons in Duluth.

An F-16 fighter jet takes off from Duluth International Airport in January 2009. (File / News Tribune)

Utah-based Borsight Inc. will not be exercising an option to lease an aircraft maintenance base in Duluth for nearly $125,000 per month, members of the Duluth Economic Development Authority learned Wednesday night.

The firm was unsuccessful in its bid to win a $900 million federal contract that could have brought as many as 100 jobs to Duluth.

Borsight had partnered with the Brussels-based SABCA Group to put together its ambitious proposal but lost out to Lockheed Martin.

While Chris Fleege, director of Duluth's planning and economic development department, referred to the news as disappointing, he said: "We've definitely got some other folks that have an interest. But we've got to spend more time and put stuff together for that entity."

The maintenance base, owned by DEDA, has been left largely vacant since the departure of AAR — an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company — that closed down its Duluth operations this spring, as the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on commercial air travel.

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