Metro-East News

Aviation company will bring additional jobs to metro-east airport

In this BND file photo, Jet Aviation technician Cory Guetterman, of Highland, works on a plane, Thursday, July 12, 2012.
In this BND file photo, Jet Aviation technician Cory Guetterman, of Highland, works on a plane, Thursday, July 12, 2012.

An airplane maintenance and repair company will bring an additional 20 jobs to a metro-east airport, the company’s president and chief operating officer said Tuesday.

West Star Aviation purchased a 43,000-square-foot hangar at the St. Louis Downtown Airport, which is owned and operated by Bi-State Development, a Missouri-Illinois agency that also operates public transit in the region. The 26 aviation companies at the airport employ approximately 1,400 workers, according to Bi-State Development.

The company will start doing business Monday, said Rodger Renaud, president and COO of West Star Aviation. The company will initially staff 10 employees, according to Bi-State spokesman Jerry Vallely. The company paid $1.4 million for the hanger, Vallely said.

The aviation company also operates a facility at the St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton, where it performs airplane maintenance, repair and remodeling. The airport is in Bethalto but has an East Alton mailing address. West Star Aviation has 323,000 square feet of hangar, shop and office space there, according to the company’s website.

Renaud said the expansion will allow the company to provide additional resources to its customers. West Star Aviation will offer maintenance at the Cahokia airport.

“The expansion further ensures we can accommodate our customers during high demand times,” Renaud said in a prepared statement.

The Cahokia airport and St. Louis Downtown Heliport employ 3,371 people directly and indirectly with a payroll of $151 million, according to Bi-State Development. The airport serves Union Pacific Railroad, Peabody Energy, Monsanto Chemical and AB InBev.

Business jet charter company Jet Aviation, which once employed as many as 1,000 workers at the Cahokia airport, announced in August it was laying off 330 employees.

West Star Aviation has locations in Chicago, Houston and Denver, among other United States facilities. The company was founded in Grand Junction, Colorado in 1987, combining with East Alton-based Premier Air Center in 2004.

Kelsey Landis: 618-239-2110, @kelseylandis