Envoy Air, which operates regional jets for American Airlines, announced today that it would take space vacated by Hawker Beechcraft at Clinton National Airport and use it as a maintenance facility for a new fleet of regional jets, the Embraer 175. Officials said this would create 60 jobs in Little Rock.
Hawker closed the facility, which once employed as many as 600 in aircraft completion, in 2013 and the airport has been seeking tenants since.
American currently uses regional jets exclusively for its American Eagle flights between Little Rock and Dallas, Chicago and Charlotte. The facility will provide service for those flights as well as for scheduled maintenance for up to four of the 76-seat Embraers.
Ron Mathieu, the airport’s executive director, told Arkansas Business that Envoy is leasing the space for $20,000 per month. It has a five-year contract with the airport with two options to extend the lease for five more years. Embraer is using 37,000 square feet of the almost 250,000 square feet Hawker used at the airport.
UPDATE: Mathieu explained that he now has three tenants in the old Hawker space with Envoy, plus space rented for storage to Dassault Falcon and to Fly Arkansas, a fixed base operator. Together, they’ll produce $60,000 in monthly rent, against $50,000 paid by Hawker for its entire facility, with more available for lease. He said if the deal with Envoy progresses as he hopes, it may expand its operation for more maintenance, perhaps of some smaller regional jets in its fleet.