Expansion and Consolidation Plans for 2013
EAST ALTON, IL – Solid growth in West Star Aviation’s key markets is fueling significant expansion plans. While the industry as a whole continues to rebound from the largest aviation downturn since the Great Depression, West Star is outperforming the industry. To meet its business demands, it plans to invest roughly $15 million this year on facilities in Grand Junction, CO (GJT), East Alton, IL (ALN), and Columbia, SC (CAE).
“At West Star Aviation, we believe in doing the right thing, whatever the cost,” says CEO Robert Rasberry. “We’re essentially investing in our customers, growing strategically in those areas that allow us to do more for them in an extremely efficient manner.”
West Star’s history of strategic expansion has created a highly personalized, vertically integrated business, one that delivers comprehensive, one-stop convenience. It offers everything from fuel and ramp services to repairs, maintenance, major airframe modifications, pre-buy inspections and paint. Plans call for adding approximately 160,000 square feet at West Star’s two largest locations (in Grand Junction and East Alton) and at its location in Columbia. All facilities will be new with the exception of the maintenance facility in Grand Junction. That facility will be housed in a hangar that previously belonged to Mesa Airlines. It will be like new with a total restoration – new exterior, floors, lights, doors and more.
In Grand Junction, CO, a new 150’ x 300’ state-of-the-art downdraft paint facility will be added, opening in summer 2014. This further enhances West Star Grand Junction’s stature as one of the nation’s premier paint facilities. A maintenance facility and shop will also be added by July 2013, bringing West Star Grand Junction’s total square feet under roof from 280,000 to more than 360,000 with service provided by approximately 400 employees.
In East Alton, IL, ground will be broken in the third quarter of 2013 on a new maintenance facility totaling 47,000 square feet in addition to opening a 14,000-square-foot wood shop and a 6,000-square-foot accessory repairs shop third quarter 2013. This will bring the Alton facilities from 250,000 to 317,300 square feet with approximately 300 employees.
The facility in Columbia, SC, is poised for added capabilities with the addition of 10,000 square feet of maintenance facilities.
West Star’s location in Chesterfield, Chesterfield, MO (SUS) will continue to provide avionics and line service, with other services moving across the river to East Alton. The King Air, Beechjet, Premier and Hawker ASC designation will transfer to ALN. The result: all Beechcraft aircraft operators will now have complete one-stop convenience.
To focus resources for maximum customer benefit, West Star will sell its small MRO facility in Dallas, TX (DAL). It is now under contract to Waypoint Holding. The sale will be finalized by June 1.
“We are excited about the future of aviation and are fully committed to providing these facility enhancements to streamline services for our customers,” says Rasberry. “2013 promises to be a very busy year for us.”