AirCenter becomes the newest Scottsdale FBO

 - January 21, 2008, 10:00 AM

Further evidence that Scottsdale Airport (SDL), 14 miles southeast of Phoenix Sky Harbor International, is an increasingly active business aviation center in Arizona and the southwest surfaced March 4 when the field’s fifth and newest FBO, Scottsdale AirCenter, hosted a display of nearly 30 business and GA aircraft.

Scottsdale Business Aircraft and Jet Preview 2003, an invitation-only event, was sponsored by Scottsdale-based Airport Property Specialists and the Airport Journals publications chain. The presentation, featuring aircraft ranging from the Lancair Columbia 300 to the Embraer Legacy and Gulfstream IV, was one of a series being held by the Airport Journals Aviation Business Journal network headquartered in Centennial, Colo. It came just three days after Scottsdale AirCenter officially opened the doors of its three 25,000-sq-ft hangars and 8,000-sq-ft terminal building.

The first FBO on the east side of SDL’s Runway 3-21, the new full-service facility will soon be joined by another under construction directly to the southwest. Scottsdale Airport has operated continuously for 61 years since its genesis as the Army Air Forces Thunderbird number-two training field. In recent years the city has successfully encouraged development of airport-oriented businesses near the airport. The Scottsdale Airpark complex includes a number of sites that have direct taxiway access to the field’s single 8,250-foot runway, with more in the offing.

Completed 11 months after the start of construction, Scottsdale AirCenter features five acres of aircraft parking and 9,000 sq ft of office space for tenants. Its hangars will accommodate business jets as large as a Global Express. The FBO is an Exxon Avitat dealer with on-site underground storage for 60,000 gallons of jet-A and 20,000 gallons of avgas.

General manager Tommy Walker said Scottsdale AirCenter is developing a service and maintenance capability to match the needs of SDL’s aviation community. Heavy maintenance will occupy a portion of one hangar, while Duncan Aviation is scheduled to open an avionics shop this month. AirCenter will also offer aircraft sales and brokerage, as well as charter service.

At the end of last year Walker completed more than 13 years as general manager of AirFlite at Long Beach Municipal Airport (LGB), Calif., with the intent of retiring to Arizona. He did, but “un-retired” when offered the Scottsdale post by Herb Marchman, AirCenter’s president, who for more than 17 years has operated Santa Fe Jet Center at the Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF), N.M.

Walker noted that, in contrast with the sometimes contentious atmosphere that prevailed in the past at noise-sensitive LGB, the Scottsdale environment is quite congenial. “The airport staff has really tried hard to work with us right from the beginning,” he said. The aviation veteran of more than 35 years–as a pilot and on the FBO side–said he expects the new AirCenter not to be a major noise generator for SDL since “not more than one in 50 departures out of here will be Stage 2 aircraft.”