Rifton sold to Supermarine

 - October 16, 2006, 12:12 PM

Rifton Aviation, the upstate New York FBO formerly owned and operated by the Bruderhof religious community, has been sold. Located at Stewart International Airport (SWF) in Newburgh, N.Y., the ExxonMobil Avitat facility now operates under the name Supermarine, a sister operation to the FBO of the same name in Santa Monica, Calif. Rumored to have been for sale for some time, the New York FBO had recently built a sprawling hangar complex capable of accommodating as many as six aircraft the size of Boeing Business Jets and Airbus Corporate Jetliners.

Airport authorities with facilities closer to New York City, such as Westchester County (HPN) in White Plains and Teterboro (TEB) in New Jersey, had proved to be inhospitable to the bizliner fleet. At Teterboro, operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, larger aircraft were restrained by a 100,000-pound weight limit. Westchester County would not approve General Electric’s application to build a hangar facility at HPN for its corporate BBJs, so the corporation built a dedicated flight facility at SWF instead.

Some saw the decision to build hangars that large as a gamble on Rifton’s part, since such hangars (with doors taller than 28 feet high) require custom-refined steel for the door span and are classified in a more stringent fire-safety category. Aircraft such as the Gulfstream G500 and Bombardier Global Express can fit inside a hangar with a 28-foot-high door.

Supermarine director of business development John Meehan told AIN he has seen substantial BBJ transient activity, including international operators flying to the New York area on diplomatic flights.