LITTLE ROCK — Dassault Falcon Jet broke ground Tuesday on a $60 million expansion of its jet completion facility in Little Rock.

LITTLE ROCK — Dassault Falcon Jet broke ground Tuesday on a $60 million expansion of its jet completion facility in Little Rock.

The project will add 250,000 square feet to the facility, where workers put the finishing touches on jets made by parent company Dassault Aviation in France. Dassault Aviation launched two new jet models last year and this year, the Falcon 5X and the Falcon 8X, respectively.

Company officials did not say how many jobs they would add in Little Rock, but Grant Tennille, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, has said the expansion is expected to pave the way for as many as 300 new jobs and will keep 400 jobs in Arkansas that would have left the state if the facility had been built elsewhere. Dassault now has 1,900 employees in Little Rock.

Eric Trappier, chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, said during the ceremony that the expansion is "proof of the commitment that we have to the state of Arkansas and our employees here that we plan on growing and continuing to be a vital part of the fabric of this great state (in) the decades to come."

Gov. Mike Beebe and U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., were among several elected officials who attended the ceremony.

"The key to all of this is the quality of the workmanship created by the employees that you see here," Beebe said.

Pryor said Arkansas and the nation are poised to add manufacturing jobs.

"A lot of these jobs that we’ve lost over the last couple of decades, they want to come back to the U.S.," he said.

Five years ago, Dassault Falcon Jet was laying off workers in Little Rock because of a downward trend in the business jet market.

"We’re finally seeing positive signs of recovery in the business jet market, including in the U.S.," John Rosanvalion, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet, said Tuesday. "It is a great feeling to see that we are ready for this recovery."

State incentives the company will receive for the project include $2 million from the governor’s Quick-Action Closing Fund; a cash rebate equal to 3.9 percent of new payroll for 10 years; a sales tax refund on building materials and taxable machinery and equipment associated with the project; and reimbursement for training expenses.

Also, the city of Little Rock agreed to waive future rent payments, amounting to a about a $43 million savings for the company over the next 40 years, and provide $1.3 million in cash incentives.