Fast track plan for Hangar 9 is a runway success

easyJet’s Hangar 9 is mission ready to support forthcoming intensive MRO schedules at Gatwick Airport, following a rapid design and build project which was completed in just six months.

easyJet selected Rubb Buildings Ltd to design, manufacture and construct their new top-flight facility at Gatwick, UK, and the two-bay aircraft maintenance hangar was officially opened in June.

Rubb team members were invited to the opening event and passed through Gatwick’s North Terminal security, before boarding ‘India Xray’, one of easyJet’s A319s. With guests on board, the aircraft was towed across the airfield to the new aircraft MRO hangar.

Speaking at the opening event, easyJet CEO Carolyn McCall said the hangar proposal and challenging timescale proved hard to believe for many people. She revealed that Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate told her: “They’re never going to do it, and if they do I will eat my hat!”

However, Mr Wingate later congratulated everyone involved in the project, saying it “was never in doubt that the hangar was going to be open on schedule.”

Brendan McConnellogue, easyJet’s Head of Maintenance, commented: “The Rubb team who worked on site were absolutely first class. The first steel went in the ground on December 14 and by May 19 we were able to introduce the first aircraft into the hangar.”

The completed twin span aircraft hangar measures 91.5m wide x 60m long, 9.2m to the eaves and 16.8m to the apex of each span. Each front gable measures 45.7m wide and features a 41m wide x 13.5m vertical lifting fabric door.

The facility provides 5200sq m (58,125sq ft) of usable working floorspace and can accommodate two Airbus A321s at the same time. The hot dip galvanized steel frame is clad with 150mm thick Thermohall insulated fabric and a full LED lighting system, ventilation system and LPG heating system has been installed.

To complete the build two sets of vertical lifting ‘Megadoor’ hangar doors were fitted to allow access to the two A321 bay facility. The hangar is complimented by a 550sqm external logistics and office building.

Kevin Creed, easyJet’s London Gatwick Maintenance Manager, will head up the management of work carried out at the hangar, which will include two aircraft inputs every night, seven days a week and provide AOG hangar support as required. Lufthansa Technik was selected to provide maintenance services at the facility and a ground breaking 5 year contract has been signed which will see Lufthansa Technik opening its first UK hangar based operation.

Ian Hindmoor, Rubb Buildings Ltd Managing Director, said: “I was delighted to attend the opening of the easyJet hangar facility at LGW. We are incredibly proud of this flagship aviation building and of what we have produced and delivered in a challenging and complicated working environment, in such a short space of time.”

Brendan McConnellogue added: “The successful delivery of this project, which has been challenging both in terms of scale and its timeline, is another example of what can be achieved through easyJet’s innovative and lean approach, not only meeting a tight timeline, but also creating strong sustainable partnerships to deliver market leading operational performance.”