Governor Edwards announces $17.6 million project happening at Chennault International Airport

VIDEO: Governor Edwards announces $17.6 million project happening at Chennault International Airport

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Governor John Bel Edwards announced on Thursday a $17.6 million investment project between Chennault International Airport and Citadel Completions. The company makes modifications and performs maintenance on jets, including Boeing 737 jets and Airbus jets. According to Louisiana Economic Development, around 600 new direct and indirect jobs.

For the project, Citadel Completions says they will create 256 new direct jobs with an average salary of $80,000, plus benefits.

The aircraft center will be dedicated to interior jet modifications and maintenance at Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles.

"Chennault International Airport is one of our state's great aviation assets," Edwards says. "Citadel Completions has recognized the value of this facility and our exceptional workforce, and we congratulate the company on choosing Lake Charles for their completion center."

To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a performance-based grant of $7 million to defray the cost of facility modifications, payable in seven consecutive yearly installments, along with a $2 million performance-based grant for lease support

Citadel will provide full-scale interior completions for luxury and commercial aircraft, such as Boeing 737, 747, 767 and 777 jets, along with Airbus A330 and A340 jets. The company's Lake Charles workforce will include a seasoned team of aviation professionals who design and engineer luxury interiors for a variety of narrow- and wide-body aircraft.

Hiring for the project is currently underway, with operations set to begin by the end of this year.

"We want to make Chennault an economic base for growth for the community. That's why we are so excited about Citadel coming in and being a part of our team here. Our mission is to grow jobs and impact the economy in our community." says Chennault International Airport Authority's Executive Director Keven Melton.

The international airport affects the local economy, bringing in on average $300 million, with $80 million going towards payroll.

When Citadel Completions becomes a tenant at the airport later this year, they will be joining several other tenants, such as Northrop Grumman, which builds and maintains the Joint STARS military surveillance aircraft for the United States Air Force, and Louisiana Millwork, which began as a start-up company in Southwest Louisiana 18 years ago, and is a major building materials manufacturer and supplier in the Louisiana and eastern Texas markets. You can find out more about these companies, as well as other tenants, here.

Chennault is an industrial airport in Lake Charles operated by the Chennault International Airport Authority. The airport and its tenant companies employ some 1,500 persons and account for $300 million in annual economic impact.

It was recently named "Louisiana Airport of the Year" by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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