January 15, 2013 in Business

Horizon Air unveils maintenance hangar

Carrier, airport partner to build facility for inspections, repairs
By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photoBuy this photo

Larry Krauter, Spokane airport director and CEO, left, and Glenn Johnson, president of Horizon Air, greet guests at the opening of Horizon’s new maintenance shop.
(Full-size photo)

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Horizon Air and Spokane International Airport have teamed up to turn a 1940s-era hangar into a new overnight maintenance shop for the airline.

Horizon anticipates the $1.9 million project will provide greater operating efficiency for Horizon.

Airport and airline officials hosted a dedication ceremony Monday morning that drew dozens of people.

“I am humbled by all of you coming out to help us celebrate this wonderful new facility,” said Glenn Johnson, president of Horizon Air and executive vice president of Alaska Air Group, the corporate parent of Horizon.

Horizon operates 21 daily flights out of Spokane under the Alaska banner. In addition, Alaska operates three flights.

Johnson said the airline has a 91 percent rating for on-time performance – second-best in the country – and that being dependable “starts with airplanes that are ready to go.”

The 19,000-square-foot hangar south of the main runway is large enough to bring Horizon’s Q-400 aircraft indoors for testing, inspection and parts replacements.

Officials said the project was made possible through a series of public and private partnership agreements.

Horizon spent $550,000 on the project. The state provided $40,000 from the governor’s strategic reserve account for economic development.

In addition, the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council contributed $77,000 for employee training and recruitment.

Avista upgraded the electrical supply, and the city spent $41,000 on sewer and water services.

The hangar features high-efficiency lighting and natural gas radiant heat.

The airport, which is leasing the hangar to Horizon, invested the remainder.

For years, the hangar was operated by Spokane Airways, but consolidation in the aircraft industry caused the old hangar to become available, said Larry Krauter, airport director and CEO.

The facility will employ 19 workers initially, which represents only a small expansion of maintenance staff in Spokane, said James Brownlee, managing director of maintenance and operations for Horizon.

Among the most important tasks will be keeping watch on the inflatable rubber boots at the leading edges of aircraft wings. Those boots are filled with air during flight to keep ice from building up.

Horizon chose Spokane from a field of seven cities for its new maintenance operation.

Officials said the project is another example of economic development potential in the aircraft industry.

Meridian Construction Inc., of Spokane Valley, was the contractor on the job. ALSC Architects was hired for design work.

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