The Boeing Aerospace Support Center at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, officially began operations this week with the arrival of the first aircraft for maintenance and modification work.
On Monday, a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III arrived from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., as part of a modification program performed by Boeing.
"This represents a major new enterprise for The Boeing Company," said Harry Stonecipher, president and chief operating officer. "We intend to become the preeminent provider of maintenance and modification of large military aircraft. This is a major element of a broadened and increased focus on the part of The Boeing Company in providing a full spectrum of support services for our customers. We see this as a big and important business - one that is going to experience steady growth even as the Department of Defense procurement and research and development budgets continue under pressure."
Last April, Boeing signed a lease for 1.3 million square feet of building space at Kelly Air Force Base focused on creating a world-class maintenance and modification center for large, primarily military aircraft. That space includes a high-bay hangar, designed for simultaneous maintenance of multiple wide-body type aircraft, paint/depaint facilities and other building space. Also in the lease is preferential use of more than 3.5 million square feet of aircraft ramps, run-up areas and parking pads.
"This C-17 is the first of many aircraft, of many different types, that will fill the floor positions in this huge building for many years to come," said Jim Restelli, vice president and general manager for Aerospace Support. "Operations at this great facility will set the standard for low-cost, top-quality, rapid turnaround maintenance and modification of large military aircraft."
Firm work for the Boeing Aerospace Support Center currently includes C-17 maintenance and modification, KC-10 contractor logistics support, and DC-10/MD-10 cargo conversion for Federal Express Corp.
At the ceremony, Restelli recognized the approximately 250 Boeing employees recently hired from the San Antonio area. Employment at the facility is expected to grow to as many as 1,200 jobs at the end of the year 2000.