A major airplane maintenance company is coming to Salina with immediate plans to employ 50 workers by this fall and up to 450 employees within three years.

The largest hangar at the Salina Regional Airport, Hangar 959, has been leased to 1 Vision Aviation, a Sioux City, Iowa-based FAA-certified aircraft repair and maintenance station. The company does maintenance, repair and overhauls on commercial and corporate airliners, as well as private planes, crop dusters and other general aviation products.

The company's general aviation division has both maintenance and avionics capabilities that will be expanded into a new operation in Salina beginning in July. The company plans to grow its job numbers as new airline business is contracted.

"We like to bring people in, as well as staff locally," said Justine Sponder, business manager for 1 Vision Aviation. "We like to take advantage of the local workforce to help boost the economy there. We hope to have a quick employee build-up."

The company also performs line maintenance, service checks, heavy checks, modifications, interior and exterior aircraft painting, sheet metal work, refurbishment and fiberglass repair. 1 Vision Aviation also can support airlines with a team capable of deploying anywhere in the continental U.S. within 12 hours to get grounded aircraft back in the air.

In a special meeting June 20, the Salina Airport Authority board approved financing for $2.6 million in repairs and improvements to Hangar 959 in support of 1 Vision Aviation's expansion project.

Tim Rogers, executive director of the Salina Airport Authority, declined comment on 1 Vision Aviation until he presents a request for general obligation bond temporary notes before the Salina City Commission on Monday to begin improvements for those facilities.

Sponder said the hangars at the Salina Airport are bigger than the ones the company uses in Sioux City, "so we can take on bigger aircraft in Salina and expand the number of planes we work on."

Other details will be announced in the near future, Rogers said, including plans for a welcome and introduction of 1 Vision Aviation to the community.


LifeSave Transport to arrive

Additionally, LifeSave Transport has rented a hangar at Salina Regional Airport to provide emergency medical transportation services to Salina and north-central Kansas.

At a special meeting on June 20, the Salina Airport Authority board approved a five-year lease for Hangar 504 to the Wichita-based air ambulance company. LifeSave will base 16 pilots, paramedics and flight nurses at its new Salina base, and flight operations may begin as early as July 15.

The company was founded by Kansas emergency medicine physicians and includes fixed wing, rotor wing, ground ambulances, a state-of-the-art communication center, in-house maintenance facility, education department and patient billing division.

The board also approved financing and a budget for $195,000 in H504 improvements. These improvements will include a new fire sprinkler system and remodeled crew quarters. The hangar will house a LifeSave Bell LongRanger helicopter and has enough space to support a Beechcraft King Air if the need arises.

A formal introduction and welcome of LifeSave Transport will be announced at a later date.