AAR and the Greater Rockford Airport Authority (GRAA), in partnership with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Sen. Dick Durbin, County Chairman Scott Christensen and Mayor Larry Morrissey, recently reached an agreement to build a new maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility on the grounds of the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD). The new hangar is expected to employ up to 500 people and will expand RFD's current service offerings and infrastructure.

The 200,000-square-foot facility is expected to operate 24 hours a day and will service next-generation, wide-body aircraft. This will allow for scheduled and unscheduled service, modification and overhaul, and all other support services for military and commercial aircraft.

Final agreements between the partners are currently being developed, and construction is expected to begin within the year. The hangar will be located in the mid-field area of the airport and is slated to open in spring 2016.

Rockford joins AAR's six other MRO locations in Duluth, Minn.; Oklahoma City; Miami; Lake Charles, La.; Indianapolis; and Hot Springs, Ark. The site was ultimately selected due to the region's centralized location, cost effectiveness, availability of specialized technical talent and RFD development amenability. The region's noted supply chain was also a strong factor.

"This is a monumental economic and workforce development opportunity for RFD and the Rockford region," said Mike Dunn, RFD executive director. "We look forward to welcoming AAR and are thankful for the collaboration and tireless dedication of Gov. Quinn, Sen. Durbin and all of the partners to make this a reality."

Gov. Quinn announced a $15-million state investment to build the new maintenance facility. The investment comes through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) from Build Illinois bond funds. DCEO also will provide the company with a $600,000 investment toward training costs for its new employees.

For more information, visit www.aarcorp.com.