Gov. Bobby Jindal was in Lake Charles today with some good news for Chennault International Airport. AAR Corp. is bringing in a new airplane maintenance operation, and that means 500 news jobs for Southwest Louisiana.

Jindal held a press conference at Chennault this afternoon in which he announced that AAR will expand on the work of Aeroframe Services -- AAR's predecessor -- while retaining those jobs and adding 500 more.  The average salary to be paid will be $46,600 plus benefits.  The ripple effect of the plant could create up to 1,000 jobs indirectly.

AAR is based around Chicago, Ill., and is ranked among the top 100 defense contractors in the world, according to Jindal's press release.  It employs 7,000 people in 17 countries.

AAR was particularly attracted to Chennault due to the construction of a $21.5 million hangar on the facility, according to the release.  The state is committing $17.5 million toward that project.

"Today is a great day for Calcasieu Parish and our entire state.  Chennault continues to be one of the biggest economic drivers in Southwest Louisiana and our entire state. In addition to a world-class workforce and an outstanding business climate, Louisiana offers extraordinary sites like Chennault International Airport that make our state a leader in logistics and infrastructure. All of these resources contribute to Louisiana’s economic momentum, and AAR is one of many companies that have taken notice as they continue to invest here, creating more great opportunities for our people.”

-- Gov. Bobby Jindal, in a press release

The announcement is also good news for SOWELA, as it will allow for the creation of training program, creating a new workforce for AAR and other aviation businesses in the region.