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City approves LEDA funding to aviation industry pioneer, Universal Hydrogen

Plan to create at least 500 jobs, opportunities for training and development for locals.

Jan. 4, 2023

The City of Albuquerque Economic Development Department (EDD) will provide Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funding to Universal Hydrogen, after City Council unanimously approved the project at their meeting today. California-based Universal Hydrogen is the leader in hydrogen fuel services and aircraft conversions. 

“We’re investing in Albuquerque’s future as a leader in the modern aviation industry,” said Acting Director of Economic Development, Terry Brunner. “This is an important opportunity to create transformative jobs for locals and increase our city’s stock as a destination for world-class aerospace and aviation development.”

City Council approved a $12 million LEDA agreement, with a $2 million contribution from the City, and $10 million from the State, for which the City of Albuquerque will act as fiscal agent. Universal Hydrogen will use the funding to acquire and construct its Albuquerque manufacturing facility at the Sunport’s Aviation Center of Excellence (ACE). The company anticipates hiring and retaining at least 500 employees, providing advanced job opportunities and training for low- and moderate-income New Mexicans. Salaries will average $71,000.

“Universal Hydrogen’s zero-carbon fuel system is a game changer for the aviation sector,” said Aviation Department Director Richard McCurley. “We are thrilled to welcome this kind of high-tech manufacturing operation to the Sunport’s ACE property.”

The ACE property is under development as a high tech business campus for innovative technology companies with Aviation applications, consisting of 82 acres and direct runway access. Aviation is a key sector in the state’s local economy, with the ACE property being an important catalyst for development and growth. A fiscal impact analysis shows that Universal Hydrogen would make a significant contribution to the community, creating approximately $708 million in total economic impact over a 10-year period.