AUBURN — Portland-based Elite Airways announced Thursday that it has signed a long-term lease with the Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport for 27,000 square feet of hangar and office space.

The move is expected to bring 100 jobs to the Twin Cities as Elite Airways moves into the largest hangar at the airport. The facility will serve as the airline’s northern maintenance base to support its growing fleet of aircraft.

“We’ve had our eyes on this hangar for quite a while,” Elite President John Pearsall said Thursday. “We’ll be a terrific community partner.”

Elite operates a charter business throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and South America, with select scheduled service throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean. The company expects to begin moving into the Auburn hangar on Jan. 15.

“You’ll see the first aircraft here shortly after that,” Pearsall said.

Elite officials said the airline has nearly doubled its workforce and added planes over the past year. The company now employs 240 people and expects to add 100 aircraft maintenance technicians, mechanics, support personnel, pilots and flight crew once it moves into the hangar.

Elite and A-L airport officials announced the news at the airport.

“Today’s announcement is an exciting one as we welcome Elite Airways to the Auburn-Lewiston airport,” said Bettyann Sheats, chairwoman of the airport board.

“I believe Elite’s choice reflects the quality of our airport and the improvements we have made over the past several years, as well as the vitality of Androscoggin County and the economic opportunities the area presents,” Sheats said.

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