By Paul Gable
The saga of AvCraft in Horry County appears to be nearing its conclusion as layoffs continue and no new rent or other concessions appear forthcoming from county government.
According to a former AvCraft employee whose job was eliminated among the recent redundancies at the company, employees received letters telling them their jobs were being eliminated and the company was closing.
According to the source, a small number of employees remain to complete maintenance work on two aircraft.
According to sources familiar with recent discussions between county and AvCraft officials, attempts by AvCraft to have Horry County and its Department of Airports commit to significant capital expense of public dollars to fund upgrades to one of its hangars have been unsuccessful.
In addition, requests by AvCraft for forgiveness, by the county, of current unpaid back rent and talks regarding a new long-term lease of airport facilities by AvCraft, at rates significantly below market value, have gone nowhere.
AvCraft currently leases three hangars at Myrtle Beach International Airport from Horry County Department of Airports. The hangars are part of the land and facilities that were given to Horry County by the federal government after Myrtle Beach Air Force Base closed in 1993.
AvCraft’s leases the hangars from the county for aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul work.
However, recently it was discovered AvCraft has listed its facilities on the S.C. Film Commission website as an available location for movie filming.
Additionally, the S.C. Film Commission listed the AvCraft facilities on North Carolina film locations website Locations Hub: http://search-rs.com/Slideshow.aspx?lid=027-10070478&id
Hangar 358, the hangar AvCraft wanted the county to provide upgrades to at significant expense, appears prominently in the pictures on these two websites.
According to county sources, the current lease with Horry County does not allow AvCraft to sub-lease its facilities for activities other than aircraft maintenance. According to those sources, even short-term use as a movie production location would require a three reading ordinance amendment by Horry County Council.
But, all that doesn’t seem to matter anymore as AvCraft is apparently closing its doors soon.