United Airlines broke ground in Indianapolis earlier this month for a maintenance operations center that is being financed largely with tax-exempt bonds.

But, airline officials said last week, United may wait a year before asking the Indianapolis Airport Authority to issue new debt for the project.

So far, Indianapolis, Hendricks County, and Indiana have issued about $293 million of bonds for the airport, according to city, state, and United officials.

Still remaining to be issued is up to $850 million of special facility revenue bonds by the airport authority. Authority officials have said the amount and timing of that issuance would be for United to decide.

Joe Hopkins, a United spokesman, said the airline has not yet requested the issuance of the special facility bonds, "and we don't anticipate doing so for a year or so from now." He added that the airline expects the $293 million of bond proceeds to see the project through 1993.

All of the bond issuance was included in an incentive agreement put together by the governments that lured the airline facility to Indianapolis last year.

The maintenance facility, being built on a 300-acre site at the Indianapolis International Airport, will service United's fleet of Boeing 737 airplanes. According to an airline press release, the facility will eventually employ 6,300 workers and will open its first hangar in November 1993, becoming fully operational by 2004.

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