Southwest Opens Largest MRO Facility

Credit: Southwest Airlines

U.S. carrier Southwest Airlines has formally opened its new maintenance facility in Houston nearly two years to the day it announced the planned construction.

The hangar at Houston’s Hobby Airport, which totals 240,000 sq. ft., is the airline’s largest across its network of shops in North America, which is comprised of six facilities.

The Dallas-headquartered airline’s decision to build a new facility was driven by greater maintenance capacity requirements for its fleet of more than 700 Boeing 737-700 and -800 aircraft. Due to the ongoing 737 Max crisis, all 34 of Southwest’s Max aircraft are grounded.

It previously operated a smaller technical operation at Hobby Airport since 1988. The facility holds capacity for six Boeing 737 aircraft inside the hangar, while outside the bays can accommodate up to eight of the narrowbody aircraft type. 

In addition to maintenance space, the hangar also includes wash facilities on the apron outside, taxiway connections, parking and loading docks, as well as offices and parts storage areas.

The total investment outlay stands at $125 million, the airline confirmed.

Across North America, the carrier is also making other upgrades to its maintenance network. This includes investing in aircraft maintenance build-outs at airports in Baltimore/Washington and Denver. 

Southwest is also undertaking $40 million of upgrades to its MRO facility at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International airport. This includes the addition of a hangar and doubling the number of maintenance bays from two to four.

James Pozzi

As Aviation Week's MRO Editor EMEA, James Pozzi covers the latest industry news from the European region and beyond. He also writes in-depth features on the commercial aftermarket for Inside MRO.