Gainesville Regional Airport welcomes new GA tenant

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Florida’s Gainesville Regional Airport has welcomed  Consortia Aerospace Group (formerly Chippewa Aerospace Group) as a new general aviation (GA) tenant.

Headquartered in Conway, SC, the engineering service firm established its base at Gainesville on 16 November in the former Silver Airways/ Eclipse Aviation building, occupying a modern, 61,000 sq.ft. maintenance hangar and adjacent 8,300 sq.ft. hangar, which formerly belonged to Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS).

Since the departure of Silver Airways in 2015, Gainesville Airport officials has been actively searching for a comprehensive tenant for the facilities. Airport CEO, Allan Penksa, remarked, “As a leading engineering service firms in the aerospace industry, Consortia Aerospace Group is making an investment in our area that will not only bring jobs, but new opportunities in the vibrant aviation and aerospace research and development industry to our region.” This, he added, will be a “great economic benefit to both the surrounding community and to the airport.”

Meanwhile, Julie Myers, Consortia Aerospace CEO added: “The location and the assets in this community are an ideal location for us to continue to provide our services to a wide variety of domestic and foreign aerospace companies, commercial and business aviation companies and private aircraft owners.”

Williston Basin Airport welcomes Overland Aviation’s new FBO facilities

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Overland Aviation has opened a new US Customs facility and luxury terminal at its FBO facility in Williston Basin International Airport in North Dakota.

Describing the opening of the FBO’s new facilities a milestone, Tanner Overland, President and Founder of Overland Aviation said: “It is the culmination of years of planning and development on our mission to delivery industry-leading tech stops to a global market. We are excited to welcome travellers from all over the world to Williston Basin International Airport.”

The 51,000 sq. ft. executive terminal and hangar complex successfully combines industrial architecture with natural wood elements. It offers an executive passenger terminal and pilot lounge, as well as a private terminal for oil-labourer  crew-change flights, management and rental office space. There is also a heated hangar to accommodate aircraft up to a Gulfstream G650, and a US general aviation facility to welcome international operations.

Ideally located directly under the Great Circle Route between Europe and the western part of the US, Overland Aviation is in a prime position for international stopovers. It also offers an experienced team and US customs co-located within the FBO. Customers also benefit from uncongested airspace and an environment that allows for turnarounds in 30 minutes or less. It is also a true fee-free tech stop: free of landing fees, handling fees, security fees and infrastructure fees. In addition, ramp and international garbage fees are always waived with a fuel purchase. Overland Aviation is an Avfuel-branded FBO.

Hazleton Regional Airport prepares for opening of Olympus Air hangar

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Having broken ground on its new hangar earlier this summer in July, Olympus Air – an aviation development company – is set to open its new facility at Hazelton Regional Airport (HZL) in Pennsylvania by February 2022.

The 16,000 sq.ft. heated hangar will be situated on the north side of the airport field and will feature a door height of 28 ft. to accommodate aircraft up to a G5.

Olympus Air is partnering with Hazleton Regional Airport to support its growing customer base with the new hangar providing a new home for aviators at eastern Pennsylvania’s general aviation gateway. Tenants will benefit from the airport’s full FBO services, and on-field maintenance and aircraft detailing, while the region’s economy will benefit from enhanced capacity to support business and leisure travellers alike.

Global Air Charter, a Minnesota-based full-service aviation charter and management company that is expanding its services to Hazleton Regional Airport will take over half of the hangar. The other half is up for lease.

Commenting on the partnership David Chronowski, Airport Manager of Hazleton Regional Airport said: “We are thankful to the Olympus Air team for working with the airport to facilitate this exciting expansion. It speaks volumes to their dedication to the airport, the aviation industry and the community. We look forward to welcoming more general aviation travellers to HZL with expanded facilities and the subsequent services Global Air Charters will provide from the Olympus Air hangar.”

Meanwhile, Tom Kislan owner of Olympus Air added: “We’ve been long-time tenants of Hazleton Regional Airport and are committed to supporting its growth with real estate development. “We are thrilled to welcome Global Air Charters to the airport field as its team agrees to make the Olympus Air hangar its home. What benefits the airport benefits the local community; we’re honoured to support HZL and the eastern Pennsylvania region with enhanced access to streamlined aviation services.”

Richmond Executive Aviation opens premier facility at Chesterfield County Airport

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The full-service FBO, Richmond Executive Aviation (REA), has celebrated the opening of its new premier facility at Richmond Executive-Chesterfield County Airport, Virginia in the US.

The $2.5 million investment features an 800 sq.ft FBO terminal, 1,700 sq. ft. of office space and 20,000 sq. ft. of hangar space able to accommodate up to a Gulfstream G450. The luxe FBO facility combines a modern, industrial architecture with natural elements for an inviting atmosphere. Amenities include a state-of-the-art meeting space with seating for 15 and full AV, a pilot lounge, a pilot planning area, flight training classrooms, a concession bar, Wi-Fi and charging stations, and an impressive lobby area with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ramp and into the hangar.

The airport features a 5,500 foot runway and REA offers business aviation customers fuelling services supplied by Avfuel, ground handling, concierge, aircraft-side ground transportation, in-flight catering, cabin restocking, aircraft management, aircraft sales and flight training. The pilot and veteran owned FBO prides itself on its motto ‘ business isn’t expected, it’s earned’ so customers can expect personalised attention.

“Our company is professional, modern and comfortable,” said Mark Hackett, CEO of REA. “Couple that with attention to detail, an emphasis in customer appreciation, and service beyond excellence… You then no longer have competition, but rather a benchmark to which others strive to match.”

Falcon Field Airport in Arizona celebrates opening of new Avflight facility

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Having established operations at Falcon Field Airport in Mesa, Arizona in December 2020 Avflight has now opened a new facility at the dedicated business and general aviation hub. The opening ceremony was held during the Arizona Business Aviation Association’s in-person meeting, which was held at the airport at the end of June.

The new facility includes a 5,000 sq.ft. FBO terminal, more than 500 sq. ft. of office space available for leasing and 11,000 sq.ft. of hangar space with plans to expand to accommodate a growing customer base at the Mesa gateway.

Featuring a modern aesthetic in keeping with the Avflight brand, the state-of-the-art FBO terminal features passenger lounges, snooze rooms, showers, a kitchen, a flight planning room and a conference room. Conveniently located on the airport field the Avfuel-branded location allows for direct access from road to ramp with ample parking space.

“The Avflight team is honoured to serve as a premier gateway to Mesa and the greater Phoenix region,” said Garrett Hain, Avflight’s Vice President of finance. “When we moved onto the field in December, we sought to bring our passion for aviation and comprehensive knowledge of aviation services – backed by the resources afforded by a network of 23 premier FBOs – to the FFZ field. Our goal was, and continues to be, to build on the foundation of Falcon Field Airport’s offerings with new facilities and a dedication to customer care. We’re here to be a true, trusted partner, dedicated to supporting the airport’s growing customer base with first-class services and amenities.”


Milano Prime partners with Sirio to preview new maintenance hangar

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Business aviation in Italy is showing steady signs of recovery following the global pandemic. Speaking during a press briefing at EBACE Connect on 17 May, SEA Prime, which manages the business and general aviation infrastructure at both Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa airports under the Milano Prime brand, noted that Italy had recorded +36.9% in terms of business and general aviation movements in the first four months of 2021.

Acknowledging the market  has not yet returned to 2019 levels, Chiara Dorigotti, CEO of SEA Prime did however reveal figures showing that private aviation traffic numbers are on trend to return to normal by next year. She also noted a +30.8%  increase in business and general aviation movements in the first four months of this year compared to 2020 and a three-digit increase in the first weeks of May, as she stated, “our airports never closed operations even during the hard lock down months in March and April 2020.”

The group hasn’t stopped pursuing its commercial initiatives over the last year and among the most important projects in terms of development for SEA Prime is the construction of a new 4,500 sq. m. hangar at Linate Prime. “Designed to accommodate all business jet models and architecturally consistent with the materials used in the Milano Prime terminals, it will meet the highest standards of environmental sustainability and energy efficiency,” said Dorigotti.

“The hangar, which we plan to deliver in 2020 has been designed for Sirio, part of the Directional Aviation Group, one of the main customers and partners of SEA Prime present at Milano Prime for more than 20 years and which, with the new hangar, will consolidate and expand its maintenance activity as an authorised service facility for Bombardier,” she continued.

Adding that its 20 years since Sirio rented its first hangar at Milano Linate Prime, Tom Engelhard, CEO of Sirio added, “we can now look forward to the next chapter with this state-of-the-art hangar! It will be a milestone for our maintenance organisation and all our clients, and allows us to further expand our portfolio of services.”

SEA Prime has also implemented various measures to ensure the safety of passengers and operators, including frequent sanitisation of spaces, social distancing, the use of paperless documentation and the possibility of carrying out COVID-19 swabs in both its terminals.

With sustainability a key focus across the sector as it looks to a post-pandemic landscape, SEA Prime also highlighted its new agreement with BMW for the supply of BMW i3 full electric cars for the follow-me service. In the absence of trade fairs, SEA Prime has also satisfied requests from manufacturers to organise static displays of aircraft at Linate Prime, which offers convenient access to Milan’s city centre.

In addition, the group revealed it has received positive feedback for the fast-track service at Malpensa Prime, which has been used during the pandemic by the Milanese as well as international sports teams to ensure a secure, private and discreet transit through the airport.

Rise Aviation breaks ground on new FBO terminal at North Texas Regional Airport

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Rise Aviation has broken ground on its new FBO terminal at North Texas Regional Airport (KGYI) in Sherman, Texas, which is slated to be complete in the first quarter of 2022.

Having originally offered FBO services as Lake Texoma Jet Center Rise Aviation acquired the existing FBO at North Texas Regional Airport in 2008. As growth accelerated from the DFW Metroplex north toward the North Texas hub, Rise Aviation began plans for a new modern facility to better serve the general aviation community. Rise then entered negotiations with the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority to acquire an additional leasehold for development of its state-of-the-art FBO facility.

Rise Aviation currently operates four hangar/ office facilities at North Texas Regional Airport totalling more than 67,000 sq. ft. of hangar space, 21,890 sq. ft. of office/ shop space and seven acres of aircraft ramp space. The new project will add 1.4 acres of leasehold and 10,721 sq. ft. terminal, which includes a large passenger lobby, crew lounge and seperate snooze room, a flight planning area, a vending area, leasable office space, an observation deck overlooking the runways, a large executive conference room, and the airport’s administrative offices.

“We are delighted to be underway with construction of our new FBO terminal at North Texas Regional Airport,” said George Schuler, Rise Aviation’s owner. “Rise looks forward to continue serving the users of North Texas Regional Airport with this new facility. As the North Texas area continues to grow, many businesses and investors who come to Grayson County with thoughts about relocating, building or investing here will arrive in a business aircraft and we are pleased Rise Aviation’s new facility at North Texas Regional Airport will be Grayson County’s front door to the world.”

Plans outlined to protect threatened UK airfields

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Outlining plans to save threatened UK airfields, the General Aviation Awareness Council (GAAC) has proposed a fourth category of land to the UK Government that would aid in balanced economic development – through the recognition of valuable ‘Infrastructure’.

According to GAAC, the lack of an ‘Infrastructure’ category airfields are instead deemed ‘Protected’ rendering them unable to evolve and become commercially viable, and leaving them vulnerable to housing developers. Published last August the UK Government’s Planning White Paper highlighted a proposal to create three ‘Zones’ to streamline the planning process and speed up provisions for new housing. The three zones included: Growth – areas suitable for substantial developmet; Renewal – areas suitable for development; Protected – restricted development. The GAAC suggested an amendment to include a further planning zone for Infrastructure – to include general aviation airfields.

With small airfields complementing future flight projects such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), including commercial drone deliveries and air taxis, the Council highlights that more environmentally sustainable ‘green’ aircraft powered by electricity, hydrogen (or multi-fuels like used cotton) are either already UK licensed or about to be.

Aerodromes constitute “a huge resource – contributing to connectivity and transport needs, facilitating business aviation, flying training, STEM-related training and jobs, supporting emergency services and charities, offering recreational, leisure and sporting facilities,” said John Gilder, GAAC Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the APPG-GA’s Airfields Working Group. “Most importantly in the current context, they help ensure connectivity in key locations for future infrastructure needs – in the ‘transport, digital, energy and utility’ sectors. ”

After the government’s failure to confirm airfields as a specific use the perception that they were ‘brownfield’ sites made them an easy target for developers, said Gilder. “This created a major issue for the GA sector, even with the National Planning Policy Framework Review Amendments of 2018.”

He added that, “A combination of the demand for housing and the perception that airfields are underused, cheap land ripe for development due to a lack of planning protection has meant a large number of aerodrome sites have already been lost. Many others (50 plus) are under threat.”

Currently it is almost impossible to create a new airfield. “Therefore, the existing resources must be regarded as irreplaceable,” said the GAAC, adding, “There has never been clear planning policy determining how Local Plans should deal with most of the smaller GA aerodromes.”

In addition, a lack of knowledge among Local Authority planners exacerbates the situation. So, along with the new ‘Infrastructure’ category, the GAAC would like to see supporting guidance for planning officers.

The GAAC believes that current protection of GA aerodromes is inadequate and notes: “The CAA’s current guidance  is to lodge a ‘Safeguarding Map’ with the Local Planning Authority and agree for the aerodrome to be consulted on any planning applications which infringe the Map. However, other development which does not infringe the ‘Obstacle Limitations Surfaces’ on a Safeguarding Map  could have a major adverse impact on the safety and, therefore, viability of aerodrome operations. The recent extension of the ‘Agent of Change’ principle to aviaition activities is helpful but needs to go further.”

The GAAC would like to see strategically important aviation infrastructure sites supported by planning policy which “gives general protection and a general principle that additional related development should normally be allowed.”

Importantly, “any proposal to permanently remove the asset should require the proposer to adequately demonstrate the justification or otherwise for this. An Independent Planning Inspector would then be instructed to asses and adjudicate – based on viability, the degree of criticality within the overall network, and contribution to the local economy and local community.”

The GAAC also says there is “currently little consistency in the way GA aerodromes are treated in planning policy and administration. Inadequate understanding of the requirements and functions of GA aerodromes and their value to the community frequently leads to issues, and there are recurring anomalies around the application of planning policy and the necessity for operational safeguarding at airfields.” In addition, all airfields should have clear and consistent planning Permitted Development Rights and LPAs should be widely circulate that this is the case.

Pictured: Fairoaks Airfield, Surrey.

Gary Jet Center enters agreement with Cirrus to be an authorised service centre

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Based at the Gary/ Chicago International Airport in the US, Gary Jet Center (GJC) has entered into an agreement with Cirrus Aircraft to be an Authorised Service Centre (ASC) for the aircraft manufacturer.

As part of the agreement, GJC will have trained technicians on both the SR-Series piston aircraft and the Vision Jet, and will provide customers with a full range of aircraft maintenance on the Cirrus Aircraft. In addition to routine and annual Cirrus Aircraft maintenance, GJC will offer composite and paint repair, warranty support, Garmin and Avidyne avionics servicing, and air conditioning services.

“We are excited to be a part of the global network of Authorised Service Centers for Cirrus Aircraft,” said Jeff McLain, Director of Maintenance for GJC. “For nearly 30 years, Gary Jet Center has been performing maintenance on a variety of aircraft with our Part 145 Certificate, and to secure this relationship with Cirrus is a tremendous addition to our offerings. We look forward to providing exceptional service and support to Cirrus owners in the Chicagoland area and beyond.”

GJC’s team will have access to genuine Cirrus Aircraft parts, and will provide scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, including CAPS inspection and recertification, ADS-B incorporation and other modifications to the avionics suite. It will also offer an aircraft management package to ensure the owner’s Cirrus aircraft is available for dispatch, as well as compliant with all FAA and Cirrus maintenance schedules.

Signature Flight Support expands network with addition of Chantilly Air Jet Center

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Chantilly Air Jet Center, the newest full-service FBO serving the Washington, DC metro area has joined Signature Flight Support’s Signature Select network.

Based at the Manassas Regional Airport, Chantilly Air is an IS-BAH Stage 1 certified FBO. The 11,000 sq. ft. FBO terminal provides a range of amenities including a pilot lounge, snooze rooms and shower facilities. There is also a fitness centre for crew and passengers, as well as conference rooms and a refreshment galley. The greenfield facility also includes a 60,000 sq. ft. hangar and significant office space for rent, in addition to the provision of traditional FBO services, including fuelling, hangarage, a Part 145 repair station, as well as aircraft charter and fleet management.

Expressing his enthusiasm for joining the world’s largest network of FBOs, Tim Sullivan, COO Chantilly Air Jet Center said: “Chantilly Air is a family-owned entity that started in 1990. Building on our 30-year reputation as an aircraft charter and management provider, we look forward to becoming an FBO of choice for the metro DC area, as well as having a long and mutually beneficial partnership with the Signature network.”

Manasssas Regional Airport itself provides easy access to the I-66 and I-95 corridors, northern Virginia and downtown Washington, DC. It is the busiest general aviation gateway in the state of Virginia,and  is a towered airport with US Customs and Border Protection to accommodate international arrivals.

“We are pleased to welcome Chantilly Air to Signature Select and the global Signature Flight Support network,” said Mark Johnstone, CEO, Signature Aviation. “Chantilly Air’s reputation for ramp safety and adherence to industry best practices resonates with our own Signature Service Promise. I am confident their enrollment in the Signature Select programme will unlock significant mutual benefit for both of our customers and organisations.”