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Hurricanes prompt Spirit to move operations control center

MIAMI (AP) — Spirit Airlines is moving its operations control center from South Florida to just outside Nashville, Tennessee, after recent hurricanes forced the low-cost carrier to temporarily move some staff during storms, the company said Friday.

The project to move the operations center from Miramar, Florida, to Williamson County, Tennessee, represents an investment of $11.3 million and will bring 345 jobs to Tennessee over the next five years, Tennessee officials said Thursday.

About 240 positions are being moved from the Florida headquarters, which has about 1,000 employees, Spirit spokesman Field Sutton said. That will leave fewer than 800 workers in Florida, but Sutton said the company expects to be back up to 1,000 Florida employees within two years when they move into a new building in Dania Beach.

The operations control center handles flight dispatch, crew scheduling, maintenance control, aircraft routing, air traffic control coordination and other aspects of the business, which has nearly 150 planes.

Sutton said the center will outgrow its existing location as the airline expands to 300 planes over the next five years. When executives decided they needed a new building, emergency relocations during Hurricanes Irma in 2017 and last year's Hurricane Dorian prompted them to move the center away from the East Coast.

Spirit entered the Nashville market in October.