ST Engineering Aerospace opened a new $46 million, 173,500-sq-ft airframe MRO hangar at Florida’s Pensacola International Airport on June 8. The new facility, which is the company’s third airframe MRO location in the U.S., can perform heavy and line maintenance, as well as modifications, on narrowbody and widebody jets. UPS is the launch customer for the new maintenance center.
Able to accommodate six Airbus A321s simultaneously, the facility includes one of the largest hangars in Singapore-based ST Engineering’s global network of airframe maintenance facilities. It carries an annual capacity of 600,000 labor hours, according to the company. Some 150 employees work at the Pensacola facility, and ST plans to add another 500 in the near future.
“Pensacola serves as an excellent base for us to serve the MRO needs of the North America region given its rich pool of highly trained engineering and aviation talent,” said ST Engineering Aerospace president Lim Serh Ghee. “We are pleased to have United Parcel Service as our launch customer at the new facility, and we look forward to welcoming more customers and supporting them.”
During the grand opening, one of UPS’s Boeing 757 freighters stood on display with many of its wing access panels removed while it underwent a C-check, an inspection that takes an average of 21 to 24 days and must be conducted every 24 months. UPS director of engineering Edward Walton told AIN that its fleet of seventy-five 757 freighters cycle through the Pensacola facility for the inspections, with 21 to be performed there this year and 40 per year thereafter. The 757 is UPS’s smallest aircraft in its fleet and is thus used to serve thinner markets.
Meanwhile, UPS’s 757 and 767 freighters are also receiving avionics upgrades at ST Engineering Aerospace’s facility in nearby Mobile, Alabama. That involves swapping out the aircraft’s legacy CRT-based avionics with a Rockwell Collins LCD-based “large display system,” Walton said. He added that some of the work could possibly be done at the new Pensacola facility, though the company harbors no firm plans for that.
UPS also uses ST Engineering Aerospace’s MRO in San Antonio, Texas, for airframe maintenance of its MD-11 freighters, as well as ST Engineering’s Singapore Seletar Airport facility for conversion of passenger 767s to freighters.