Air Wisconsin Airlines is setting up a maintenance facility at Appleton International Airport (ATW) to support its expanding schedule in the eastern Wisconsin city.
The United Airlines regional feeder plans to build a 30,000-sq-fit. hangar and 7,000 sq. ft, of office and support space on the north-west side of ATW. The $8 million project is slated for completion before the upcoming winter season.
The new hangar will accommodate up to four Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jets--double what Air Wisconsin can currently put inside the ATW facility it uses. The expansion is needed in part to ensure the airline has adequate hangar space for overnight maintenance come winter, as its flight schedule to ATW has been expanding.
The carrier, which saw its contract with American Airlines expire earlier this year, signed a new deal with United and returned to ATW last October after an 11-year absence, and has ramped up from a single round-trip to United's Chicago O'Hare hub to as many as five daily frequencies. Earlier this month, it added a daily round-trip to United's Denver hub.
The ATW routes are part of United's aggressive growth strategy to drive more traffic through its mid-continent hubs. For ATW, it's contributed to a growth trend, as the airport now has nine nonstop destinations. Traffic at ATW was up 18% year-over-year (YoY) through May, handling 58,000 total passengers--the best May in its history. The airport, which is also served by Allegiant, American Air Lines, and Delta Air Lines, has posted 13 consecutive months of YoY growth.
The new hangar will add about 80 jobs and is part of a broader effort to grow Air Wisconsin's maintenance operation. The airline recently expanded its Dayton, Ohio, and Milwaukee maintenance operations, and is advertising sign-on bonuses of up to $14,500 for certified mechanics at both locations.
Air Wisconsin operates a fleet of 62 CRJ-200s with an average age of about 16 years, Aviation Week Fleet Discovery data show.