A new aircraft maintenance hangar officially opened December 14 at the Springfield-Branson National Airport. It will be used by Envoy Air, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines.
Envoy has had an aircraft maintenance operation in Springfield since the late 1990s but has outgrown its current maintenance hangar. To make sure that the facility stays in Springfield, along with its 75 quality jobs, the airport built a larger hangar for approximately $11-million. Envoy has agreed to lease it for 20 years, with two, 5-year renewal options.
“Envoy will maintain modern, bigger aircraft here and that helps keep jobs in Springfield. There’s also the potential for additional jobs and improvements to Springfield air service,” says Brian Weiler, the airport’s director of aviation.
“This new hangar is a result of the vision by airport leaders, the city of Springfield, and the chamber of commerce,” says Dale Morris, Government Affairs, American Airlines. “That vision has been the main pillar of this project. It’s also a testament to the commitment from those who dedicated their talents to join American and Envoy on this journey. This new facility reinforces our joint efforts to provide a safe and reliable operation that will benefit our customers, team members and the city of Springfield.”
The airport and the airline began talking about building a new maintenance hangar several years ago. The effort picked up steam in 2019 but was nearly scrapped due to pandemic uncertainty. Ultimately, it was determined that the facility was still needed and the airport board, city council, Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and the Missouri Department of Economic Development worked together with American to push it forward.
“We strongly value our long partnership with American and Envoy,” says Weiler. “We’re proud to partner with them to complete this project, which guarantees their jets will be maintained in Springfield for years to come.”
Bigger and better
The new maintenance hangar has 60,000 square feet and is designed to hold up to three Embraer E175 aircraft. In the jargon of the industry the facility is called an “MRO.” That stands for maintenance, repair and overhaul.
The need for this new MRO hangar was driven by Envoy’s transition to bigger jets. The jets the airline have been servicing in Springfield generally have 50 seats (the Embraer ERJ145). The bigger jets (Embraer E175) have 76 seats. The bigger jets are too big to fit in the old maintenance hangar which has 22,500 square feet.