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    In May 2013, West Star Aviation announced an aggressive expansion plan including additions to its facilities at St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton. While the industry as a whole continues to rebound from the largest aviation downturn since the Great Depression, West Star Aviation, which has its national headquarters at St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton, is outperforming the industry.
    The expansion at Regional Airport includes a 47,000-square-foot maintenance building, a 14,000-square-foot wood shop and a 6,000-square-foot accessory repairs shop. This brings the East Alton facilities from 250,000 to 317,300 square feet with approximately 300 employees. Construction is scheduled to be completed this spring.
    West Star Aviation has built a reputation as one of the world’s leading aviation service providers. It specializes in airframe repair and maintenance, engine repair and maintenance, major modifications, avionics installation and repair, interior refurbishment, paint, parts, surplus avionics sales, window repair and accessory services. The company also provides complete fix-based operator (FBO) services for transient aircraft at its East Alton and Grand Junction facilities. West Star also has operations in Columbia, S.C.; Aspen, Colo.; and Chesterfield, Mo. West Star’s roots date back to 1947. The company name became West Star Aviation in 2004 when renowned service providers West Star Aviation in Grand Junction and Premier Air in East Alton joined forces. The company serves as a proven, highly trusted FAA-authorized repair station, factory-authorized service center and engine maintenance center for many leading manufacturers.
     “At West Star Aviation, we believe in doing the right thing, whatever the cost,” said CEO Robert Rasberry. “We’re essentially investing in our customers, growing strategically in those areas that allow us to do more for them in an extremely efficient manner.”
    West Star’s strategic expansion has created a highly personalized, vertically integrated business, to deliver comprehensive, one-stop convenience. It offers everything from fuel and ramp services to repairs, maintenance, major airframe modifications, pre-buy inspections and paint.
    West Star’s service location at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, Mo., will continue to provide avionics and line service with all other services moving to the new facilities in East Alton. The King Air, Beechjet, Premier and Hawker operations will transfer to Regional so that all Beechcraft aircraft operators will now have complete one-stop convenience in East Alton.
    “We are very excited about West Star’s success and continued investment in our region,” said David Miller, Regional Airport manager. “Their predecessor, Walston Aviation’s operation here in East Alton, was the largest Cessna outlet in the world in the 1950s. I am delighted to see West Star returning to that customer-focused one stop business model.”
    2013 also saw the opening of High Flyers Grille at the airport. And, Regional’s FAR 139 certification was renewed (the same top-tier accreditation held by Lambert and O’Hare) and environmental approval was granted for six additional capital improvement projects for 2014.