A big economic development announcement in Shreveport this morning.

Governor John Bel Edwards and ExpressJet Vice President-Maintenance Bob Madigan have announced the company will undertake a $400,000 expansion at its aircraft maintenance facility at Shreveport Regional Airport. This will result in more than 70 new direct and indirect jobs.

ExpressJet will create 35 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $60,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will also result in 36 new indirect jobs. The company will also retain 250 existing ExpressJet jobs at the Shreveport facility.

Along with the growth in Shreveport, ExpressJet also plans to bring in eight to 10 jobs in 2016 at its Baton Rouge maintenance facility, where the company currently employs more than 60 people.

"Shreveport Regional Airport has played a vital role in the growth of the Northwest Louisiana economy, and ExpressJet Airlines has been a partner in that success for many years," said Governor John Bel Edwards. "We are happy to see ExpressJet grow its operations in Louisiana. With the creation of 35 new jobs, this project underscores the premium Louisiana places on developing a skilled workforce for businesses and industries to thrive here."

More about ExpressJet, courtesy of a news release from the City of Shreveport:

ExpressJet maintains a fleet of more than 300 jet aircraft, operating as Delta Connection, American Eagle and United Express with mainline partners Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines, respectively. The company has operated an aircraft maintenance facility in Shreveport since 2003. The expansion project will add a fifth heavy maintenance and overhaul operation, known as a C-check line.

The company’s Shreveport complex currently has four C-check lines for extensive high-level checks of individual systems and components on ExpressJet aircraft.

“ExpressJet is pleased to expand our Shreveport facility by adding a fifth C-check heavy maintenance line to the location,” Madigan said. “This expansion will bring 35 additional skilled jobs to the Shreveport area to support the excellent work our people do there each day. Our maintenance operation has called the State of Louisiana home for the past 15 years. We’re pleased to continue that positive relationship through our Shreveport work-scope expansion.”

LED’s Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, began discussing a potential project with the company in August 2015. To secure the project, LED offered ExpressJet the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart®, the nation’s top-ranked state workforce development program. In addition, the company is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

ExpressJet has installed its C-check line upgrade and has begun filling the new jobs, with the full hiring process expected to be completed by April.

“We are excited that ExpressJet has decided to further invest in our community by creating more job opportunities for our local workforce,” Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler said. “This partnership has worked very well and is a great example of the kind of expansion we hope for with all our business partners.”