Cheltenham, England-based Douglas Equipment International, a supplier of aviation towing equipment and parts for commercial and military aircraft and vehicles, has located its first United States facility in Douglasville, Ga., to serve the American military market, according to the company’s managing director, Lee Brewis.

The reason the company chose Georgia and not Charleston S.C., Memphis, Tenn., or Norfolk, Va., was that although it needed an eastern seaboard location to have a closer time differential with England, it preferred an aviation hub, Mr. Brewis told GlobalAtlanta in an interview.

“Memphis had Federal Express Corp., Charleston had the docks,… but Atlanta had everything. The name Douglas County was a nice coincidence,” he said, adding that Atlanta’s rail infrastructure, Delta Air Lines Inc.’s hub, a qualified and affordable labor market and reasonable cost of industrial sites and housing made Douglasville the best location for the company’s U.S. operations.

Mr. Brewis also said that British Airways’ two daily flights to Gatwick Airport in London from Atlanta helped make the decision to locate in Douglasville after two years of site evaluation.

Douglas Equipment already has been shipping half-a-million spare parts to North America for use by Continental Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada and Delta, so its customer base was already well-established, Mr. Brewis said.

“Our big push will be for the American military market. We’re already doing some work with the U.S. military, but we wanted to be on ground with personnel and spare parts to be better able to service those customers,” he said.

The Douglasville facility will coordinate the company’s international sales, parts storage and maintenance, as well as design and manufacture towing and handling equipment for military helicopters and fighter aircraft used in the U.S. and export markets.

The new operation represents an initial investment of $200,000 and will create 15 new jobs.

Douglas Equipment International is a subsidiary of Douglas Equipment Ltd., a United Kingdom-based manufacturing and engineering company that designs and manufactures vehicles for marine, aviation and military applications. Douglas’ towing equipment can move aircraft that weigh up to 600 tons, such as the new Airbus A380.

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