POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 2:00pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 2:04pm
LAKE CHARLES, LA — Governor Bobby Jindal broke ground today on a new $21 million hangar at the Chennault International Airport that will enable a significant expansion of aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul activity to attract at least 500 new aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul jobs to the region.
Governor Jindal said, “Over the past few years, Chennault has been bursting at the seams with business expansion and job creation, and that’s why we invested millions to build a new hangar to expand the facilities and help generate more jobs. The bottom line is that Chennault has been one of the biggest economic drivers in Southwest Louisiana and our entire state. This new hangar will attract at least 500 new aircraft related jobs and help keep our children here at home so they can pursue their dreams and raise a family.”
House Speaker Chuck Kleckley said, “I was proud to work with the Administration to secure the funding needed for enhancing Chennault. This airport is a major economic driver for Lake Charles and Southwest Louisiana – and this expansion will attract hundreds of new jobs to the area. As Speaker, I’ll continue to work with the Administration and the Legislature to support the people and businesses of this region.”
According to a McNeese State University study, since 1987 the Chennault field has supported roughly 3,000 jobs and had an economic impact of $5.5 billion.
Governor Jindal said the state has committed around $17.5 million towards completion of the new hangar. In 2011, Governor Jindal announced $14 million in Community Development Block Grant funding for the new hangar. Additionally, in last year’s capital outlay budget, Governor Jindal worked with the Legislature to include $100,000 in cash-line-credit funding for planning the project, and up to $3 million in future construction funding. The remaining funds for the facility include $400,000 from the Department of Transportation and Development and $4 million from local sources.
The project includes planning and construction of a new 112,000-square-foot hangar with 20,000 square feet in office space, along with associated road, firewater plant upgrades and distribution line extensions, utility relocations/extensions, and security fencing. Scheduled to be completed in late 2013, the new hangar will have four open bays large enough to handle wide-body airplanes, such as the Boeing 747 or 777 and the Airbus A340.