Liebherr-Aerospace plans to expand Saline operation, add jobs
Liebherr-Aerospace Saline Inc., one of Saline's largest private employers, plans to add 33,000 square feet to its 100,000-square-foot facility in an industrial park on Woodland Drive.
The expansion — a project initially expected to take place in 2008 but delayed due to the global economic crisis — will position the German aerospace firm to handle increased demand for its services until at least 2014.
Liebherr's Saline operation examines and refurbishes used airplane parts that must be scrutinized after a certain number of years in use.
Alex Vlielander, president of Liebherr-Aerospace Saline, said in an email that the company expects to add between 15 and 20 "skilled technicians" to its landing gear services unit as a result of the expansion.
The company, which employs about 4,000 people worldwide in its aerospace and transportation divisions, has about 140 workers in Saline. That's down from about 150 in 2008 but up from 75 since 2003.
Liebherr had been expanding its Saline operation rapidly until the global economic crisis sparked a slowdown in the airline parts industry. The decision to move forward with the long-planned expansion points to an uptick in the company's business. The firm's Saline operation is servicing various manufacturers, including two different types of Embraer jets and aircraft made by Bombardier and Airbus.
The aerospace division shares its Saline facility with Liebherr's automotive division, which has another 33,000 square feet. After the expansion, the entire facility will total about 133,000 square feet.
Liebherr expects the expanded facility to be completed by spring 2012. Construction is expected to start within weeks.
The expansion will be directly attached to the company's existing facility on Woodland Drive.
Liebherr has yet to spell out a plan for 54.6 acres of farm property adjacent to its building that it acquired in 2008 to fuel its long-term growth.