Development

New KCI maintenance operation moves forward

Updated: 2014-01-23T04:09:27Z

By KEVIN COLLISON

The Kansas City Star

Aviation Technical Services will sign off Feb. 1 on its lease for its 600-employee aircraft maintenance center at the Super Hangar facility at Kansas City International Airport and plans to begin operations by April.

ATS, which is based in Everett, Wash., announced last month it was opening its first maintenance and overhaul operation outside its home state at KCI. The Kansas City Council has approved a seven-year lease valued at $7 million for 325,000 square feet of space. It includes two 10-year renewal options.

A news conference about the ATS expansion is planned for Jan. 30 at the airport. It will include Gov. Jay Nixon and Mayor Sly James. David Long, KCI deputy director of aviation property and commercial development, said details on job applications and job fairs will be among the topics.

The aircraft maintenance firm said it expects to hire 540 new employees and 40 contract workers for the KCI facility within three to five years, and it said the operation could eventually grow to 1,000 jobs. The average salary for the skilled workers is expected to be $60,000.

ATS is the largest maintenance, repair and overhaul provider on the West Coast. It describes itself as one of the largest suppliers of Boeing 737 and 757 airframe maintenance in the world. One of its biggest customers is Southwest Airlines, which also has the most flights at KCI.

The KCI facility will provide services for wide-body and narrow-body commercial and military transport jet aircraft ranging from painting fuselages to airframe maintenance. ATS president and CEO Matt Yerbic said it will handle more than 150 aircraft a year when fully operational.

Many of the workers at the ATS operation will be airframe and power plant specialists licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Long said Metropolitan Community College will be handling the job applications and more than 400 people already have expressed interest since the December announcement. The community college website instructs applicants interested in the ATS jobs to go to aviationtech.mcckc.edu.

ATS is expected to occupy the entire 607,000-square-foot Super Hangar over the next five years, Long said. He added the firm already has begun moving equipment into its new space. ATS is expected to invest $7 million in the new Kansas City operation.

To reach Kevin Collison, call 816-234-4289 or send email to kcollison@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at kckansascity.

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