New AAR Hangar at Rockford International Airport Will Service Next Generation Aircraft
ROCKFORD – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by company and local officials to break ground on a new maintenance and repair hangar for global aircraft service leader AAR Corporation at Rockford International Airport. The new facility will create up to 500 new jobs over five years. Today’s event is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.
“This new major aerospace facility will expand Rockford International Airport’s services and boost Rockford’s growing manufacturing base,” Governor Quinn said. “We welcome this new AAR facility and the hundreds of jobs it will bring to Illinois. At a time when Illinois is making an economic comeback, we are proud to see our partners staking a future in our state.”
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.
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). DCEO also will provide the company with a tax credit worth an estimated $7.5 million over 10 years and a $600,000 investment toward training costs for its new employees.
“Rockford is the third-largest multi-modal port system in the world, which makes it a great place for aviation and for AAR to grow its presence and reputation in aircraft MRO,” Chairman and CEO of AAR CORP David P. Storch said. “I see great things coming out of this public-private partnership with the state of Illinois. Rockford is a community of people who are passionate about Rockford and what the city has to offer.”
AAR chose Rockford as the site of its new facility 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. Rockford joins AAR’s six other locations in Duluth, MN.; Oklahoma City, OK.; Miami, FL.; Lake Charles, LA.; Indianapolis, IN. and Hot Springs, AR. The Rockford airport was chosen following the consideration of several locations in other states.
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.
“Governor Quinn led a strong public-private partnership that convinced AAR to makes this investment,” DCEO Director Adam Pollet said. “The company’s commitment will provide quality jobs to the Rockford region and secure its future as a hub for aviation work.”
Today's groundbreaking follows a series of aerospace investments in the region including the construction of a second campus for aerospace technology leader Woodward and the groundbreaking earlier this year of the 40,000 square-foot Rock Valley College Aviation Maintenance Technology Program facility. Graduates of the program are prepared to join the ranks of the more than 6,500 workers currently employed in aerospace companies like AAR, assuming positions as airline or general aviation engine and/or airframe mechanics.
AAR is a global aerospace and defense contractor that employs more than 6,000 people in 17 countries. Based in Wood Dale, IL., AAR supports commercial, government and defense customers through two operating segments: Aviation Services and Technology Products. AAR’s services include inventory management and parts distribution; aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul; and expeditionary airlift. AAR’s products include cargo systems and containers; mobility systems and shelters; advanced aerostructures; and command and control systems. More information can be found at www.aarcorp.com.
The Illinois unemployment rate hit a new six-year low in August when it fell to 6.7 percent, the lowest rate since before the Governor took office, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. This is the lowest rate since August 2008 and a continuation of an uninterrupted drop in the state jobless rate that began in late 2013. The number of people employed in Illinois remains above six million, continuing a 2014 trend that has seen more people working in this state than at any time since early 2009.
Since taking office and inheriting decades of mismanagement, the Governor has enacted worker’s compensation reform and unemployment insurance reform to make Illinois a better place to do business, in addition to major fiscal reforms such as pension reform and Medicaid restructuring that are restoring fiscal stability to Illinois. Governor Quinn is also pushing a new tax cut for businesses that provide job training. By lowering the cost to train workers, this will make it easier for businesses to create new jobs and ensure workers have the skills to drive a 21st century economy.