Aug 12, 2011 3:36 PM by Press Release
LAKE CHARLES - Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced an investment of $14 million in Community Development Block Grant and Capital Outlay funding for the Chennault International Airport that will enable a significant expansion of aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul activity to attract at least 500 new aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul jobs to Calcasieu Parish.
Governor Jindal said, "My number one priority is to make Louisiana the best place to create jobs and to raise a family. This airport has been bursting at the seams with work, and with this $14 million investment, more facilities will become available for current and prospective tenants, providing space for the continued growth of aviation maintenance operations that will position the airport to attract hundreds of new jobs to the area."
The $14 million investment will go toward the planning and construction of a new $18.5 million aircraft maintenance and repair hangar at ChennaultAirport. Funding for the project was also included in this year's capital outlay budget, which included $100,000 in cash-line-credit funding for planning the project, and up to $3 million in future construction funding if needed as part of the overall $14 million state commitment. The remaining funds for the approximately $18.5 million facility will come from local sources, and construction completion is targeted for the end of 2012.
This new project includes the construction of a new 112,000-square-foot hangar with 20,000 square feet in office space, along with associated roads, utility extensions, and security fencing. The new hangar will complement aircraft maintenance programs in other hangars at the airport that will be filled to capacity once Aeroframe and Northrop Grumman complete their current expansions. The hangar will be sized at 112,000 square feet with four open bays large enough to handle larger, wide-body airplanes, such as the Boeing 747 or 777 and the Airbus A340.
By building this new hangar, Chennault will be able to maximize its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) opportunities for its two major existing tenants, as well as providing space to other potential future tenants and leading companies during their site-selection processes. Total employment at Chennualt is in excess of 1,100, with jobs at the airport accounting for an annual payroll of $67.3 million.
According to a McNeese State University, since 1987 the Chennault field has had an economic impact of $5.5 billion and supports 2,977 jobs in the Southwest Louisiana region.
In 2010, Aeroframe announced it would bring hundreds of new jobs to the area through their expansion at Chennault and Governor Jindal visited Aeroframe again earlier in the week, on August 9, 2011, to celebrate the company reaching their 300 new job mark - putting them on track to reach 650 direct jobs by early 2013.
State Investments in Chennault
LED helped secure a $1.5 million U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to help build a hangar annex, and in 2009 a $51,000 EDA grant to pay for hangar engineering services.
In 2009, the Jindal Administration committed $10 million for workforce training, lease assistance and infrastructure upgrades for a $3.8 billion contract for KC-10 tanker aircraft service to Northrop Grumman, which created work at Chennault for up to 300 employees. To facilitate Aeroframe's latest expansion, the Louisiana Economic Development Corp. in March approved a $1.5 million loan guarantee that backed a $3 million line of credit to fund improvements at the Aeroframe site in Lake Charles.