Rockford Airport Authority to build Aircraft Maintenance Facility, leasing to AAR Corp.

cmt chicago tribune
Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc. (CMT) provided the image to the Chicago Tribune

Wood Dale-based AAR Corp., an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company, will lease a state-of-the-art jet repair center at the Chicago Rockford International Airport that the airport authority plans to build for $40 million. The firm will occupy the facility under Greater Rockford Airport Authority board of commissioners approved 10-year deal for $400,000 a year upon its expected completion in spring 2016.

“This is a monumental economic and workforce development opportunity for RFD and the Rockford region,” said Mike Dunn, RFD executive director.

Built on 13 acres in mid-field area, the 200,000 sq.-ft. MRO facility will feature twin 9½-story jet hangars, each spanning 90,000 sq.-ft., and an additional 20,000 square feet of office and warehouse space. The facility is expected to operate 24 hours a day and will service next-generation, wide-body aircraft, both commercial and military ― allowing for scheduled and unscheduled service, modification and overhaul and all other support services required.

cmt chicago tribune
Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, Inc. (CMT) provided the image to the Chicago Tribune

“The original plan was to deliver the building in the first quarter of 2016, but they want it sooner,” Dunn said. “Our construction folks will be meeting to talk about that very quickly,” reports The lease requires the airport to deliver final construction plans, building specifications and construction costs to AAR within six months.

AAR will get a $3 million reimbursement to buy tooling equipment that will be owned by RFD until at least five years of lease is over.’

The project is expected to create around 500 jobs initially with the help from more than $15 million in state incentives and could be “north of 1,000,” according to AAR Corp. CEO David Storch.

Meanwhile, the Greater Rockford Airport Authority (GRAA) and Rock Valley College (RVC) broke ground in July on the new RVC Aviation Maintenance Technology Program facility. The 40,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art building will be located on the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) grounds. The facility will house the RVC educational course of study for aeronautical maintenance and repair and will allow RVC to expand and enhance its current program.

Rockford is one of the largest epicenters of aerospace activity in the country with more than 200 aerospace suppliers operating in the region. In order to leverage this industry and further grow and attract new businesses, GRAA and RVC recognized the need to grow the region’s educated workforce.

“As a thriving aerospace cluster, we consistently receive inquiries from businesses exploring expansion, growth and relocation opportunities,” said Mike Dun, executive director, Chicago Rockford International Airport. “And quite frankly, one of the determining factors is whether or not we have a distinctly aligned workforce to support the type of specialization required,” said Mike Dunn, Executive Director, Chicago Rockford International Airport. “We are thrilled to now be able to share with prospects that our workforce will be even more strongly aligned. This distinction will continue to propel the region forward in being an aerospace leader.”

Scandroli Rockford
Scandroli Construction posted this groundbreaking image on its Facebook page

The RVC Aviation Maintenance Program is designed to promote economic development and position a more strongly educated and aligned workforce for the region. The new facility will be quadruple the size of the existing program facility complete with 6 classrooms, labs, and a larger hangar. The program will have the capacity for 150 students. Graduates of the Aviation Maintenance Technology Program are prepared to assume positions as airline or general aviation engine and/or airframe mechanics.

“RVC is pleased to be in partnerships with a number of businesses and public entities, including Woodward, Eclipse and the Airport,” said Mike Mastroianni, President, Rock Valley College. “These partnerships help us to provide affordable credentialing opportunities to prepare individuals to secure good jobs. This is an exciting time for the College, Airport and the entire Rockford region.”

Rockford-based Scandroli Construction Co. posted the news release and the ground-breaking photos on its Facebook pages.


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