Florida-based Western Global Airlines is to establish an aircraft maintenance facility at Shreveport Regional Airport in Louisiana, USA. Western Global will make a capital investment of $3 million for tooling and equipment to support the 152,000-square-foot Hangar 40 at the airport. The company, which provides service to over 300 airports in 115 nations, selected Shreveport as a conveniently located and well-qualified hub for maintaining its fleet of 16 Boeing 747 and McDonnel Douglas MD-11 widebody freighter aircraft.
The investment will ultimately create 170 new direct jobs, with an average annual salary of more than $45,200, plus benefits. In addition, Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 308 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 475 new jobs in Northwest Louisiana.
In Louisiana, the aerospace industry continues to grow with manufacturers, maintenance and repair facilities, industrial air transport companies, and a flagship NASA manufacturing site at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. In Shreveport, Western Global will establish its own aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility after outsourcing these functions at multiple locations in the past.
“Western Global is pleased to select Shreveport for its world wide aircraft heavy maintenance base,” says Western Global Airlines CEO and founder James K. Neff.“Shreveport’s central location, abundant and competent workforce and state of the art large aircraft hangar makes it an ideal choice for WGA.”
Western Global Airlines will lease Hangar 40 from the Shreveport Airport Authority and occupy space formerly leased by ExpressJet Airlines. That space became available when ExpressJet announced in late 2016 that it would close some maintenance centres in the face of a consolidating commercial airline industry. ExpressJet moved its Shreveport operations to Knoxville, Tennessee, while retaining a smaller maintenance centre in Baton Rouge.
Western Global Airline’s lease becomes effective immediately, meaning the company will begin recruiting experienced and certified aircraft technicians immediately, with plans to hire an initial 50 employees this year. Over time, Western Global may elect to obtain additional FAA certification enabling it to perform maintenance, repair and overhaul work on third-party aircraft. During the next decade, Western Global will ramp up employment to 170 personnel.
“We are excited to have Western Global Airlines in this facility to help bring about economic growth to our city and region,” said Shreveport mayor Ollie Tyler. “This creates an opportunity to employ an experienced workforce that is already familiar with the type work that will take place in Hangar 40.”