Pondering Move, Piper Narrows Choices

 - July 31, 2007, 5:44 AM

In May, Piper Aircraft confirmed that it was looking for suitable sites to relocate the company’s headquarters and to establish manufacturing of its single-engine PiperJet. A significant factor in the move is insurance costs, which have risen tenfold due to hurricanes. “Insurance in Florida is skyrocketing,” said a Piper spokesman. “We’re immediately facing a disadvantage that our competitors don’t have.” The company said recently it had narrowed the choices to three cities: the existing headquarters location in Vero Beach, Fla.; growing aircraft manufacturing center Albuquerque, N.M.; and Oklahoma City. Columbia, S.C., and Tallahassee, Fla., were removed from the running because both areas lacked, according to Piper, “a more established aviation sector and a ready workforce of employees with the skills required to meet our needs.” The spokesman did not say when Piper management will make its decision.