A defense contractor and provider of products and services to commercial airlines, AAR Corp., will establish a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul operation at Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles, Louisiana
. The aviation contractor will retain approximately 250 former employees of a predecessor, Aeroframe Services, while creating 500 new direct jobs.
The company will occupy approximately 520,000 square feet of MRO service and administrative space, plus another 118,000 square feet in Hangar H, a new high-bay, wide-body aviation hangar currently under construction at the airport. As an incentive, Louisiana committed $17.5 million toward construction of the $21.5 million Hangar H. The new hangar made Chennault a particularly attractive site for AAR’s major expansion into Louisiana.
“We appreciate the tremendous support from the Governor, the State, the Chennault International Airport Authority, local officials and the Louisiana Economic Development team in making this world-class facility available,” said AAR Corp. Chairman and CEO David Storch. “We look forward to meeting and engaging the talented pool of aviation professionals from the area and helping to extend Lake Charles’ position as an aviation center of excellence for Louisiana. The Lake Charles facility builds upon AAR’s position as the top provider of aircraft maintenance services in North America, adding capacity while enabling the company to expand its capabilities, bring our industry-leading value proposition to more customers, and create jobs.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal said, “Today is a great day for Calcasieu Parish and our entire state. Chennault continues to be one of the biggest economic drivers in Southwest Louisiana and our entire state.”
“The AAR presence will expand the types and numbers of aircraft that will be worked at the Chennault facility,” said Executive Director Randy Robb of the Chennault International Airport Authority. “Since AAR is the largest aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul organization in the United States and the third-largest in the world, Chennault anticipates significant growth in both jobs and commerce at the site.”
The state provided a competitive incentive package to secure the company’s investment in Lake Charles, including a performance-based grant of $2 million to reimburse capital investments in tooling and other equipment at Chennault needed to support AAR Corp.’s expanded operation. Additionally, AAR is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
The State of Louisiana also will partner with Southwest Louisiana Technical Community College to establish a national Aircraft MRO Center of Excellence, which will support the training of employees and create a pipeline of talent for AAR and other aviation service providers in the region. The State will provide $3.7 million in funding for enhancements to the curriculum in structures, systems and avionics including the addition of basic and advanced instructional equipment.
“SWLA will see increased growth in aviation jobs with today’s announcement,” said President and CEO George Swift of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “As we work to diversify our economic base, aviation is a key component and we welcome this potential growth. We welcome AAR Corp. to our region.”