ST Engineering has inaugurated a new aircraft maintenance hangar at Pensacola International Airport in Florida. This is the second of four hangars comprising an airframe MRO complex ST Engineering is developing at the site.
The inauguration event was attended by Florida Deputy Secretary of Commerce Laura DiBella and Pensacola Mayor D.C. Reeves.
The new 177,000ft² hangar features two bays capable of accommodating widebody aircraft, effectively doubling ST Engineering’s existing capacity in Pensacola and further solidifying its presence in the region. The hangar, which currently supports a major customer’s Airbus A300 programme, started operations in January 2023. When fully operational, it is expected to generate more than 400 new high-value job opportunities for the local community.
The airframe MRO complex that the new hangar is a part of is a project co-funded by ST Engineering, Triumph Gulf Coast, the City of Pensacola, Escambia County, the State of Florida, and various state and federal organisations. Upon completion, the complex will have a capacity of more than two million man-hours and is projected to generate more than 1,700 jobs, including skilled positions such as aircraft inspectors, airframe and powerplant technicians, and interior and avionics technicians. Construction of the third and fourth hangars is slated to commence in the latter half of 2023.
“The opening of this latest hangar for our airframe MRO complex comes at a time when air travel is rapidly recovering to pre-pandemic levels, giving us the necessary capacity to pursue new opportunities in the Americas and support our loyal customers,” said Jeffrey Lam, president of commercial aerospace at ST Engineering.
In addition to its presence in Pensacola, ST Engineering also has aircraft maintenance facilities in other parts of the USA, including Mobile (Alabama) and San Antonio (Texas). The group also operates an aircraft engine nacelle manufacturing and MRO facility in Middle River (Maryland) and provides aircraft engine washing services through EcoServices in Wethersfield (Connecticut).
Aviation Training Academy
In other news, ST Engineering and Pensacola State College signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore setting up an Aviation Training Academy in Pensacola.
The collaboration is part of ST Engineering’s continued growth and expansion plans in Pensacola, where it is developing an airframe MRO complex that will comprise four large hangars at Pensacola International Airport when complete. The MoU was signed at the official opening of the airframe MRO complex’s second hangar.
Pensacola State College is the oldest and biggest college in the Florida Panhandle, offering multiple academic and career options including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, advanced technical certificates, college credit certificates, vocational certificates and diplomas.
Under the agreement, ST Engineering and Pensacola State College will collaborate to develop an FAA Part 147 Aircraft Maintenance Technician School at Pensacola International Airport. ST Engineering will use its expertise and experience as a global aviation MRO provider to develop the apprenticeship programme and provide ‘direct to industry’ job opportunities for the academy’s apprentices. Pensacola State College will seek FAA approval for the certification of the academy partnership and work together with ST Engineering to strengthen public awareness of career opportunities in the aviation sector.
Targeting to roll out training in 2024, the academy will help support the talent needs of ST Engineering’s airframe MRO complex in Pensacola, as well as meet the hiring needs of the aviation industry in the region at large.