A new 118,000-square-foot, $21.5 million, Hangar H facility opened at Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The high-bay, wide-body aviation hangar will be used for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul technical services on major aircraft.
According to Governor Bobby Jindal’s Office, Hangar H provides the capacity to service the world’s largest contemporary aircraft, including the Airbus 330 and 340 and the Boeing 767 and 777 platforms. The hangar features four open bays that also are capable of providing MRO services for such next-generation, wide-body aircraft as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8.
“We are excited not only to be opening this new hangar but also to have it booked up for the next six months, as AAR expands our wide-body aircraft capacity to meet the increasing demand in North America,” said Don Wetekam, AAR Corp.’s Senior Vice President of Government and Defense Business Development. “Commercial and private carriers appreciate the breadth of services that AAR can provide at this newest MRO facility, and the timing of our new hangar has turned out to be ideal.”
AAR Corp. plans to establish a major aircraft MRO center at Chennault International Airport. The company, which is the leading provider of MRO services in North America, also occupies 520,000 square feet of existing hangar and administrative space at Chennault. AAR Corp. currently employs approximately 200 workers in MRO services at the airport, with plans to ultimately employ a total workforce of 750 in Lake Charles.
Governor Jindal said, “In the past six years, Louisiana has become a global leader in the aviation MRO industry, and Chennault International Airport is a cornerstone of that growth. Expansions at Chennault have led to the creation of hundreds of new jobs and have attracted some of the biggest names in aviation to our state. Hangar H builds on a longstanding tradition of growth and aerospace development here at Chennault, and it will support additional aviation investments and more great jobs for our people for years to come.”
In addition to the 118,000 square feet of MRO space, the development of Hangar H included associated road and firewater plant upgrades, along with distribution line extensions, utility relocations and extensions, and security fencing.
To support the construction of Hangar H, the State of Louisiana committed $17.5 million to the project. Remaining funds came from the issuance of local bonds sponsored by Chennault International Airport. With Hangar H as a future part of AAR Corp.’s operations in Lake Charles, the State of Louisiana in 2013 also committed $3.7 million to establish an Aircraft MRO Center of Excellence at SOWELA Technical Community College in Lake Charles, extending the depth and sophistication of aircraft maintenance programs the college has offered to major MRO aircraft services companies in the area, such as Northrop Grumman, another major Chennault tenant.
“Hangar H was engineered, designed and constructed locally. The talent of the technicians who built this state-of-the-art, wide-body hangar for Chennault was truly impressive,” said Executive Director Randy Robb of the Chennault International Airport Authority. “The credit for this hangar goes to the State of Louisiana for making the commitment to provide infrastructure that will bring quality job growth in high tech companies to our state.”
“The presence of Hangar H here at Chennault with further strengthen our aviation sector, and it will allow us to continue to diversify the economy in Southwest Louisiana,” said President and CEO George Swift of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “Hangar H has positioned us to attract companies like AAR Corp. to Lake Charles to create tremendous opportunities for our residents.”