A $40 million project is expected to put Rockford's airport even more on the map. Construction on a new jet repair center is making progress as its opening day looms.
"We are very proud to be building our next in line widebody maintenance facility at the Rockford airport," said Dany Kleiman AAR Voce President of Repair and Engineering, Technology Products. "It should be able to take in the largest airplanes in the world."
The AAR Corporation broke ground on its seventh hangar maintenance facility back in October at Rockford's airport. The new 200,000-square-foot facility is meant to service both commercial and military aircraft.
"Hopefully supporting the airport of bringing the U.S. Airlines heavy maintenance back in the U.S.," said Kleiman.
Over the last few weeks construction has started to make space for not just one facility but two. AAR has partnered up with Rock Valley College and RVC is creating classrooms, labs and even an aircraft hangar at the airport.
Officials say construction is right on schedule for all of that meaning the learning facility should be ready by this fall. Just in time for students to get a year's worth of classes under their belt and then go right to work at the AAR facility which should be up and running in Rockford in 2016.
"Everybody is supporting the program and you know we are really excited about it as well and it should be running sometime towards the mid to end of next year," said Kleiman.
RFD Executive Director Mike Dunn says it's an exciting time for Rockford's airport.
"AAR is turning out to be just a wonderful corporate partner and they have already informed us that they've got business coming into Rockford first quarter 2016," said Dunn.
This facility is projected to create 500 local jobs. It'll be built far enough away so it doesn't affect one of RFD's main attractions in years to come Rockford AirFest.