At Shreveport Regional Airport, company will make $3 million investment, create 170 direct jobs
BATON ROUGE – Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Western Global Airlines CEO and founder James Neff announced the company will establish an aircraft maintenance facility at Shreveport Regional Airport.
A cargo freight carrier, 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 wide-body freighter aircraft.
Based in Estero, Florida, near Fort Myers, Western Global Airlines ultimately will 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. Anyone interested in employment with Western Global Airlines can find more information about career opportunities by visiting WGAJobsLouisiana.com. A hiring event is planned later in May, with details about the event to be announced soon.
“In Louisiana, our aerospace industry continues to grow with manufacturers, maintenance and repair facilities, industrial air transport companies, and our flagship NASA manufacturing site at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans,” Gov. Edwards said. “We’re excited to be bringing a company with the global reach of Western Global Airlines to Shreveport, where this project will boost the regional economy and provide compelling new career opportunities for our talented workforce.”
In Shreveport, Western Global Airlines 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 worldwide aircraft heavy maintenance base,” said Neff. “Shreveport’s central location, abundant and competent workforce, and state-of-the-art large aircraft hangar makes it an ideal choice for WGA. We look forward to a very long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with the City of Shreveport, the State of Louisiana and Louisiana Economic Development, where we can grow together and make Shreveport a center for aircraft maintenance.”
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 centers in the face of a consolidating commercial airline industry. ExpressJet moved its Shreveport operations to Knoxville, Tennessee, while retaining a smaller maintenance center in Baton Rouge. Several prospects were evaluated by the Shreveport Airport Authority in the past year before the selection of Western Global Airlines.
“We are excited to have Western Global Airlines in this facility to help bring about economic growth to our city and region,” Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler said. “This creates an opportunity to employ an experienced workforce that is already familiar with the type of work that will take place in that hangar.”
Western Global Airline’s lease with the Shreveport Airport Authority becomes effective May 10, 2018. 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.
“Hangar 40 has always played a major role here at the airport, and we are happy to partner with and welcome Western Global Airlines to this renovated facility in Shreveport,” said Director of Airports Henry Thompson of the Shreveport Airport Authority. “The type of large aircraft that Western Global will be bringing into the airport will be something Shreveport has not seen in many years. We are thrilled Western Global chose Shreveport Regional Airport as their new maintenance base.
LED began discussions with Western Global Airlines about the Shreveport project earlier this year. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a $1 million performance-based grant to offset the cost of improvements to Hangar 40. Western Global will receive the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart® — ranked as the No. 1 state workforce program in the nation. The company also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs Program.
“North Louisiana welcomes Western Global Airlines to the Shreveport Regional Airport,” said President Scott Martinez of the North Louisiana Economic Partnership. “Shreveport is the only AEROready-certified community in Louisiana. We are confident the great wide-body hangar and highly skilled, ready workforce will make our region a great home for the Western Global Airlines maintenance, repair, overhaul facility.”