Global aircraft service leader AAR Corporation will open a new 200,000 square foot maintenance and repair hangar in Rockford, Illinois, that will create up to 500 new jobs over five years.
“With this new facility in Rockford, AAR is excited to expand our commitment to Illinois, which is already home to our world headquarters in Wood Dale, near O’Hare Airport,” AAR Chairman/CEO David Storch said. “AAR is the largest operator of maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities in the United States, and we are proud to add our seventh facility close to our home base and focused on maintaining the next generation of aircraft.”
The 200,000 square-foot maintenance, repair and overhaul facility is expected to operate 24 hours a day. The facility will expand the airport’s current infrastructure to allow for scheduled and unscheduled service, modification, overhaul and all other support services for military and commercial Boeing aircraft. The hangar will be located in the mid-field area of the airport and is slated to open in spring 2016. Construction is expected to begin within a year.
“Illinois and Rockford are making a making a comeback and companies like AAR are keeping it going strong,” Governor Pat Quinn said. "While we have more work to do, partners like AAR are major contributors to Illinois' economy and supporting local communities around the state. I thank AAR for their commitment to growing and expanding in Illinois where our hardworking men and women are second to none."
According to the Governor’s Office, AAR chose Rockford for several reasons, including its central location, cost effectiveness, specially trained workforce, regional supply chain, and warehouse and distribution network. The Rockford region is a prominent hub of aerospace activity and aviation manufacturing in the country, boasting more than 200 industry specific companies.
The project was made possible by a $15 million state investment to build the new maintenance facility that will service next-generation aircraft. The capital investment is through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. DCEO also will provide the company with a $600,000 investment toward training costs for its new employees.
“We are grateful for AAR’s commitment to Rockford,” DCEO Director Adam Pollet said. “This is a public and private partnership that will produce hundreds of quality jobs and emphasize Rockford’s central role in aviation.”
“This is a monumental economic and workforce development opportunity for the airport and the Rockford region,” Airport Executive Director Mike Dunn said. “We look forward to welcoming AAR Corporation and are thankful for the collaboration and dedication of all of the partners to make this a reality.”
“Rockford is home to a critical mass of tier-one aerospace suppliers including Boeing, Woodward, UTC Aerospace Systems and GE Aviation. The region’s rate of manufacturing employment is twice the national average, with more than 80 percent of Illinois’ aerospace workforce located in the Rockford area,” the Governor’s Office said.
Rockford joins AAR’s six other locations in Duluth, Minnesota; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Miami, Florida; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Indianapolis, Indiana and Hot Springs, Arkansas. The Rockford airport was chosen following the consideration of several locations in other states.