The Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) has marked another milestone in its efforts to improve air service in the Upstate.
On Tuesday, Oct. 3, the Ohio-based, American-Airlines subsidiary PSA Airlines celebrated the official opening of its new maintenance facility at GSP.
In 2016 the airport inked an agreement with PSA, paving the way for the airline to set up a full-service maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility at GSP. The move was designed to support a massive expansion of PSA’s fleet.
“We are very excited about marking this special occasion with officially celebrating our GSP maintenance facility here in the Greenville-Spartanburg area,” said Ron Cotterman, PSA’s maintenance manager. “PSA’s immense fleet and expansion necessitated additional locations to support our maintenance and reliability of our growing fleet.”
PSA’s operation is in GSP’s general aviation Hangar 2 at 2100 GSP Drive just east of the airport’s main terminal beside its new self-run fixed-base operator (FBO) Cerulean Aviation.
The hangar includes 30,000 square feet of hangar space, 15,000 square feet of office space, and 58 parking spaces. It was previously a part of Stevens Aviation’s FBO operation at GSP.
Edwards said the airport invested about $1 million to renovate the hangar in order to get it ready for PSA to move in.
He said the initial lease agreement with PSA was for three years, but there are “several options” to extend that least to 20 years.
Edwards said the agreement will generate about $383,000 in revenue per year for GSP.
He credited GSP executives Scott Carr and Kevin Powell for their efforts to bring PSA to GSP. Edwards also recognized Greenville-based Cely Construction for its work to remodel the hangar.
“From a revenue standpoint, it was a big win for the airport district in continuing to generate additional revenue for our ongoing concerns here,” he said. “I’m excited to have PSA Airlines at the airport — a great tenant. They are running a first-class operation here.”
Cotterman said the facility’s workforce has more than doubled from 24 people in June to 58 employees currently. The airline plans to increase its workforce to 74 associates during the coming months.
The facility currently performs the scheduled overnight maintenance of two Bombardier CRJ900s and one CRJ700.
Cotterman said the company hopes to add a fourth aircraft to the mix by the second quarter of 2018.
Depending on growth, he said PSA could expand the facility’s operation from overnight to “24-7” in the future.
“We are very excited about the bright future of this maintenance facility and the positive impact it will have on the reliability of our operation for many years to come,” Cotterman said.
PSA currently has about 3,000 employees who operate 700 daily flights to nearly 90 destinations.
The company said it has flight crew bases in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio; Knoxville, Tenn.; Washington D.C.; and Charlotte, N.C.
Its MRO facilities are located at Akron-Canton, Charlotte-Douglas International, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International, and Dayton International airports.
Cotterman said the company’s fleet has grown from about 49 aircraft in early 2016 to 121 today. He said PSA plans to grow that fleet to about 150 aircraft by early 2019.
As of Tuesday, the GSP facility had serviced 320 aircraft.
Cotterman said the facility is not yet doing engine and gear changes, as some of the company’s larger facilities. But he expects its capabilities to be on par with those larger facilities in the near future.
“The location of the GSP facility is ideal for PSA Airlines as it is quite close to our largest hub operation here in Charlotte (N.C.), up the road,” Cotterman said.
“GSP is a natural, cost-effective place for our aircraft to undergo our overnight maintenance given where American deploys our aircraft throughout this network,” he added. “PSA has unparalleled opportunities for growth and professional development. Being part of the largest airline in the world provides stability and benefits few other regionals can match.”
Cotterman said PSA will partner with Greenville Technical College to tap into talent development through the school’s Aircraft Maintenance Technology program.
He said a majority of the open positions are airframe and powerplant techs. Cotterman said the company requires its techs be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration for both airframe and powerplant work.
The starting pay for those positions ranges from about $39,600 to $41,900 per year, he said.
Cotterman said PSA is in the midst of its largest maintenance technology investment in the company’s history.
“The implementation of Maintenix, a fully integrated, web-enabled, and mobile-ready software platform is a modern, flexible, and user-friendly approach to maintenance management and compliance control,” he said. “Our team members will have the tools and resources that will provide greater efficiency in how we schedule required maintenance, capture data to improve the fleet reliability record and maintain aircraft records, and manage our parts inventory.”
Cotterman said jobseekers should visit the company’s careers page online for more information.
GSP recently completed a multi-year $125 main terminal renovation and has about $100 million of improvements in the pipeline.
Edwards said, in the grand scheme of things, PSA’s facility will improve the reliability and efficiency of air service out of GSP.