West Star Aviation Moves Ahead with Paint Shop at GJT

 - December 11, 2013, 11:57 AM
West Star Aviation expects to break ground on a 40,000-sq-ft paint hangar at its Grand Junction facility early next year.

Plans for a new 40,000-sq-ft paint hangar at West Star Aviation’s Grand Junction Regional Airport facility in Colorado are moving ahead, despite apparent fiscal problems facing the airport authority.

West Star had reached an agreement with the airport authority to build the paint hangar, after which the authority would issue an $8 million bond, purchase the hangar from West Star and then lease it back to the company.

However, on November 7, FBI agents entered the administrative offices of the airport authority at Grand Junction and seized approximately 100 boxes of airport records dating from 2009 to present. To date, no reason has been given by the bureau or by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office and a federal judge has sealed court records of what airport authorities assume is a federal investigation.

While the action by federal authorities may affect the airport’s ability to issue the $8 million bond to purchase the paint hangar, West Star general manager Dave Krogram said the company has received the final plans for the hangar and will move ahead on the project, regardless. Krogram emphasized that West Star is in no way associated with the seizure of airport records or any related legal action. “We are not a target of the investigation,” he said.

Meanwhile, West Star expects to break ground for construction of the paint hangar in March or April, with funding either from its private investors or a bank loan. It expects to open the facility in early 2015.

The shop will include two bays: one for strip and prep, the other for paint.

The existing paint facilities at Grand Junction provide three bays but they are capable of accommodating aircraft only as large as a Challenger 604. “We have a full-blown paint shop here already, but we need more capacity,” said Krogram.