OKC lands SkyWest maintenance hangar, 375 jobs
SkyWest, a leading regional air service provider, announced last month that it plans to locate a new maintenance center in Oklahoma City, which will result in 375 new jobs when fully staffed. The hangar will serve as a regional maintenance facility for the airline’s Bombardier CRJ and Embraer 175 (E175) aircraft and will be one of SkyWest’s largest maintenance facilities.
“Oklahoma City was the right choice for this project. The capacity at Lariat Landing, our growing aviation and aerospace economy, the availability of our workforce and our central location all went into the decision for SkyWest to locate in Oklahoma City,” said Kurt Foreman, executive vice president of economic development for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “We are confident SkyWest will have every success here and know that Oklahoma City will play an important role in their long-term strategy for growth.”
SkyWest will construct a 135,000-square-foot building at the Lariat Landing, the multi-use, multi-industry development near Will Rogers World Airport. That location allows direct airfield access and landside access from South Portland Avenue. Construction began in July 2017 and the facility is expected to be open for operations in summer 2018.
“We are very pleased that SkyWest has chosen Will Rogers World Airport and Oklahoma City as the location for their new maintenance facility,” said Mark Kranenburg, airports director. “The collaborative efforts of all involved – the airport, City, State and SkyWest – made it all come together. We look forward to this new partnership and the continued growth of the aviation sector in our community.”
The hangar will initially employ 100 technicians, growing to 375 total employees. Their estimated annual wage is more than $56,000. The company plans to invest approximately $30 million for construction of the facility, in addition to job creation.
SkyWest currently operates in Oklahoma City as a regional carrier for four major airlines – Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines – and has a 410-aircraft fleet serving 238 cities. The company expects to hire or relocate at least 100 aircraft mechanics to work out of the new facility. The City of Oklahoma City’s Strategic Investment Program and the State of Oklahoma’s Quality Jobs Program helped facilitate the project.
The Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust is negotiating an agreement with the company that includes $2 million in economic development incentives. Once the agreement is approved, the company must create at least 375 jobs within five years to receive the funds. Over the first three years of its operation, the project’s estimated economic impact is more than $327 million.
“This project is a perfect example of the difference that incentives can make in the economic development process,” Roy H. Williams, CCE, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber said. “Oklahoma City wasn’t the only possible location for this project, but SIP funds helped us ensure that these 375 jobs will be created here and not elsewhere.”