ST Engineering has broken ground on a new aircraft maintenance hangar at Pensacola International Airport in Florida, US.

    The construction of the new hangar represents the first phase in the development of a 655,000sq ft airframe MRO complex that was originally announced in 2018. The project expands on an existing two-bay widebody hangar operated by ST Engineering.

    When fully completed, the expansion will add three large hangars and associated support shops, and around 1.5 million labour hours to ST Engineering’s annual capacity in Pensacola, the company said.

    Pensacola mayor Grover Robinson, who officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony, said the project would make the city a “regional centre for excellence for the MRO industry”.

    The total development cost for the airframe MRO complex is budgeted at US$210 million, funding for which comes from ST Engineering, Triumph Gulf Coast, the City of Pensacola, Escambia County, the State of Florida and other state and federal organisations. The complex is expected to bring about 1,300 jobs to Pensacola.

    To meet future demand, ST Engineering is evaluating the creation of an aviation training academy that would add an additional 150 graduates a year to the local aviation maintenance programmes.

    ST Engineering North America’s president and CEO Tom Vecchiolla commented: “We are thrilled at the opportunity to strengthen our existing partnership with the City of Pensacola and play a major role in its post-pandemic recovery and growth. We are driven by our commitment to help customers be better prepared, better protected and better connected for a more sustainable future.”

    ST Engineering Commercial Aerospace’s president Jeffrey Lam said: “The plan to go ahead with the expansion is a reflection of our confidence in the sector’s long-term prospects and growth as the aviation industry in the US and the rest of the world gradually recover from the pandemic.

    “We are extremely grateful for the strong support provided by the City of Pensacola and the State of Florida, and we look forward to being a significant contributor to the region’s aviation and economic ecosystem through this milestone project.

    “We are also taking the opportunity to ensure that the new hangars are built with sustainability in mind to reduce the carbon footprint of the business.”

    ST Engineering also this week celebrated the 30th anniversary of its commercial aircraft maintenance operations at the Mobile Aeroplex in Brookley, US.

    Mobile Aerospace Engineering (MAE) was established in 1990 and obtained its FAA 145 Repair Station Approval for airframe maintenance on 17 January 1991, commencing operations soon after.

    MAE features eight widebody and two narrowbody bays, covering one million square feet.

    The anniversary celebratory event also marked MAE’s 6,000th aircraft redelivery.

    “MAE is able to celebrate such a significant milestone thanks to the loyalty of its many longstanding customers, the support from the local community and authorities, and the hard work and contributions of its dedicated employees,” said Lam. “Together with ST Engineering’s commitment to continue growing its business in Mobile and Pensacola, this gives us confidence that MAE will rise above the current challenges faced by the global aviation industry, and see many more good years ahead.”