ASHWAUBENON - There's not much standstill at Jet Air-Signature Select.
The aviation services provider based at Austin Straubel International Airport ceremonially opened a new 36,000-square-foot hangar on Tuesday, and one of its owners said the business is already considering additional expansion.
"About two weeks ago, my maintenance director came to me and said he's backed up six to eight weeks in appointments and needs a much bigger facility," said Alan Timmerman, CEO of Jet Air. "This facility is three-quarters full already."
Jet Air handles maintenance work for general aviation and on airlines operating in Green Bay. Space in the new hangar will be dedicated to airline work this winter.
"I'm going to have to start looking at my ... options as far as increasing the size of our maintenance," Timmerman said.
Timmerman said Jet Air is pursuing the possibility of bringing a final assembly facility for a new Mitsubishi regional jet to the area. While that venture is still in the early stages, it's an opportunity the business is seeking. Jet Air is a Mitsubishi service center.
"They're looking at shipping them over from Japan unfinished, then they'll need a final assembly point somewhere in the U.S.," he said. "We're hoping, because of our relationship with Mitsubishi, we at least have an opportunity to sell Green Bay and Brown County."
Timmerman said Mitsubishi is expected to introduce the new regional jet into service in the next few years. The aircraft is designed for 70 to 90 people and is expected to make its first flight in the spring, according to Mitsubishi.
With the most recent hangar expansion, Jet Air added five full-time positions and one part-time position, Timmerman said.
The new hangar offers additional storage space, an aircraft and avionics repair center, and an interior shop.
"A lot of aircraft that come in and have avionics or maintenance work done, they'd like a new interior," Timmerman said. "A lot of the airplanes are getting to be 20, 30 years old and people like to upgrade them. This gives us the added capability to do a complete interior."
Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach said the county continues to look for development options around the airport.
"We're looking at the land we own around the airport and figure out ways we can develop it, both on the non-aeronautical, and the aeronautical side," he said. "These types of expansions continue to bring confidence in our airport and what it means to our region."
In an unrelated announcement, Austin Straubel International Airport is in line for $1.2 million in new snow removal equipment. The vehicles are expected to be purchased by next summer.
The Federal Aviation Administration will cover more than $1 million for the purchase of a snow plow/broom vehicle and high-speed snow blower vehicle. Brown County and the state are each paying $57,500 of the costs.