An Olathe company that manufactures aircraft support equipment has signed a $32 million contract to provide 78 de-icing vehicles to American Airlines.
The contract went to Global Ground Support LLC. Chief executive officer Michael Moore on Wednesday said he believes this is the largest commercial contract for airplane de-icing equipment.
After beating two competing companies for the business, Global plans to add about 10 mechanics and engineering jobs to the current workforce of 57 employees.
Most of the de-icers will be delivered to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the hub of American Airlines’ operations, by November.
De-icers melt ice built up on critical areas such as wings to avoid disrupting airflow or putting too much weight on the aircraft. Operators in enclosed cabs are lifted by cranes to spray a blend of glycol and water to thaw the ice.
But American Airlines’ de-icing trucks were largely outdated, Moore said.
“This is basically a replacement for their de-icing fleet,” Moore said.
The de-icing trucks also include MIDAS, a computer system rolled out by Global last year that helps operators determine the most efficient way to de-ice the aircraft.
This isn’t the first time the company has landed a multimillion-dollar deal. Last year, Global announced a $38 million government contract with the U.S. Air Force after working with it for 15 years. The company also provides equipment to several other domestic and international airlines, including Delta, JetBlue and Air Canada.
Global, an 18-year-old subsidiary of publicly traded North Carolina company Air T, has been steadily expanding in the past few years. Its annual revenue grew from $31.5 million in 2013 to $44 million last year. This year the company’s revenue is expected to reach $55 million.