Editorial: AAR Corp. announcement good news for area

Good economic news continues to stream into Southwest Louisiana.

The latest comes from last week’s announcement that AAR Corp. will locate at Chennault International Airpark, creating 500

more jobs at the facility.

The Illlinos-based company will assume the lease formerly held by troubled Aeroframe Services. AAR is expected to retain the

bulk of Aeroframe’s 250-man workforce. The state Louisiana Department of Economic Development said AAR’s arrival will also

create more than 500 indirect jobs.

‘‘Chennault continues to be one of the

biggest economic drivers in Southwest Louisiana and our entire state,’’

Gov. Bobby

Jindal said in a news release. ‘‘In addition to a world-class

workforce and an outstanding business climate, Louisiana offers

extraordinary sites like Chennault International Airport that make

our state a leader in logistics and infrastructure. All

of these resources contribute to Louisiana’s economic momentum,

and AAR is one of many companies that have taken notice as

they continue to invest here, creating more great opportunities

for our people.”

Ranked among the Top 100 defense

contractors in the world, AAR’s client list includes American, Delta,

United and Southwest

Airlines, UPS and FedEx and the United States and the United

Kingdom governments and militaries. Chennault Executive Director

Randy Robb said the company is the largest aircraft Maintenance,

Repair and Overhaul organization in the United States and

the third-largest in the world. The company’s other MRO facilities

are located in Indianapolis, Miami, Oklahoma City, Duluth,

Minn., and Hot Springs, Ark.

“The AAR presence will expand the types

and numbers of aircraft that will be worked at the Chennault facility,”

said Robb.

‘‘Chennault anticipates significant growth in both jobs and

commerce at the site. AAR selected the Chennault location based

upon the fact that the facilities met their needs and because of

the apparent teamwork they observed between the State of

Louisiana, Calcasieu Parish, the City of Lake Charles and

Chennault.”

But Chennault’s massive runway and taxiways and area leaders’ teamwork are just some of the assets that lured AAR here.

The state will use its FastStart program and Sowela Technical Community College to train aircraft maintenance workers. And

the particulars of the deal were fleshed out in a two-month period.

‘‘There are a lot of people who worked around the clock to make this happen,’’ said Chamber/Southwest President George Swift.

In the competitive world of aircraft maintenance, this is a noteworthy victory for our area. And it represents one more ray

of sunshine in a clear blue sky of good news for Southwest Louisiana.

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This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.