1/24/97 -- 7:31 PM


MIAMI (AP) - Commodore Aviation Inc. said Friday it will take over the airport repair facility being vacated by SabreTech, the company blamed for mislabeling cargo suspected in the crash of a ValuJet plane last year.

The maintenance station at Miami International Airport came under scrutiny when federal investigators learned that workers at the facility mislabeled and improperly packaged oxygen generators which are suspected of fueling the fire before the DC-9 crashed May 11, 1996 in the Everglades. All 111 people aboard the plane died.

SabreTech gave up the license to the Miami facility last Wednesday after its business dwindled following the crash probe.

Commodore, a subsidiary of Israeli Aircraft Industry, owned by the Israeli government, has operated an aircraft maintenance facility at the Miami airport for the last 13 years, airport officials said in a statement.

The company plans to hire about 200 people in the next 18 months and will offer jobs to most of the 140 remaining SabreTech Miami employees slated for layoffs.

Commodore has agreed to a 5-year lease for the former SabreTech space, airport officials said.

SabreTech, part of privately held Sabreliner Corp. based in St. Louis, is the nation's third largest aviation maintenance company for major aircraft overhauls of cockpits, passenger compartments and cargo holds.

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