King Aerospace Commercial Corp., an aircraft services company of Dallas-based King Aerospace Inc., will lease two hangars at Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) in Highfill and begin operating there in May, according to a Tuesday (Feb. 15) news release.
The secure-environment hangars will be used to support specialized, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 145 modifications, engineering and integration services for government or quasi-government widebody aircraft. The facility will be called KACC ARK and also provide maintenance, installation, program management and interior refurbishment for aircraft.
“Everything came together to make this opportunity right for us,” said Jarid King, president of King Aerospace. “This carefully planned growth broadens our support for customers and gives us the chance to touch even more lives.”
The KACC ARK hangars are expected to be ready for occupancy on May 1 after several upgrades have been completed, including shop facilities, spray booth, exhaust systems, LED lighting and fire suppression. The hangars can hold multiple widebody aircraft, such as the Boeing 747, 767 and 777.
Alex English, public relations and marketing specialist for XNA, said the two hangars comprise a total of 198,374 square feet, including the 81,580-square-foot and 116,794-square-foot hangers. They will have engineering, shop and office space. English said the lease is for five years with three option years. The company declined to provide the lease payment amount.
“These hangars were on my radar screen even before they were built back in 1998, and I was at Associated Air Center,” said Jerry King, founder and chairman of King Aerospace. “I guess part of me always felt fated to be part of their journey. They’re an important part of our family now. The interest we’ve seen in the market gives us confidence that we’re the right team in the right place with the right services.
“We see the possibilities and will be good stewards so we fully realize their potential. We’re working to keep them well fed. We do this out of love and are proud of them already.”
The company’s operations at XNA will complement its offerings in Ardmore, Okla., which has 200,000 square feet of hangar space. That facility provides maintenance, repair and overhaul services for Boeing 737 and 757 narrow-body aircraft and 767 widebody aircraft. The FAA-approved and AS9110C-certified repair station also provides maintenance and modification services for corporate and military aircraft.
According to the release, private and government entities have approached King Aerospace about aircraft systems integration and modification projects, but they are confidential. Corporate aircraft support includes Gulfstream, Dassault Falcon, Bombardier Global Express and Bombardier Learjet. Military aircraft served over the years include the C-9, C-12, C-21, C-27, C-32, C-144, E-9, Dash-7, Dash-8 and UC-35. Customers include most major defense contractors and government agencies.
“We are so proud to have King Aerospace coming to our airport campus, creating jobs for our region and bringing a new level of energy to aviation businesses at XNA,” said Aaron Burkes, CEO of XNA. “We expect this announcement to stimulate other aeronautical industries to explore the amazing opportunities for industrial growth at the Northwest Arkansas National Airport.”
According to trade publication Aviation International News, the XNA facility is expected to open with 20 employees and grow from there.
The hangars that King Aerospace will lease have been dormant for years after the 2004 closure of employee-owned Ozark Aircraft Systems (OAS), the North American maintenance center for International Lease Finance Corp. Initially, OAS provided engineering, modification and maintenance for a variety of aircraft and custom-built interiors for aircraft such as Boeing Business Jets.
“I am thrilled this is working out for both King Aerospace and the highly skilled aviation workforce that never left this region after the closing of Ozark Aircraft Systems,” said former OAS CEO Dennis Davis. “They not only love this business, but they also have an unrivaled quality of workmanship, work ethic and craft. This world-class facility is purpose-built for the kind of work King Aerospace plans to do. It’s a true win-win.”
According to English, OAS has a sublease agreement with King Aerospace for the hangars. XNA’s ground lease with OAS is $18,258 per month. OAS only has the two hangars at XNA, and its lease agreement with XNA started in June 1998.
King Aerospace Commercial Corp. has offices and facilities in Dallas, Ardmore and Rogers, according to the release. Its sister company, King Aerospace, is a global operation that provides aircraft maintenance and logistics support for the U.S. military and government. Founded in 1992, King Aerospace has nearly 200 employees and contractors working at its Dallas home office; Biggs Army Airfield, El Paso, Texas; Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, N.M.; and Camp Humphreys, South Korea.