Brunswick (Maine) airport returns to civilian duty

 - April 29, 2011, 6:10 AM

In the 1920s, Brunswick Municipal Airport became Maine’s first airfield. By the 1960s, the airport was greatly expanded and became Brunswick Naval Air Station (NHX). On April 2 this year, events officially came full circle when the former base, being closed by the Navy, again became a civilian-owned facility and reopened as Brunswick Executive Airport (BXM).  

The former base comprises more than 3,200 acres, 750 of which are being used for Brunswick Executive Airport and its development projects. (The other parts of the property are designated as recreational, conservation and nature areas.) There are two parallel 8,000-foot by 200-foot runways, nearly 100 acres of parking ramps, and 650,000 sq ft of hangar/office buildings, including the 170,000-sq-ft Hangar 6. The majority of space in this hangar–110,000 sq ft–houses Kestrel Aviation, a start-up company developing a composite single-engine turboprop. About 50,000 sq ft belongs to the FBO, Norwood, Mass.-based FlightLevel Aviation.  

Steve Levesque, executive director for airport owner Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA), told AIN, “The exceptional maintenance facilities built by the Navy are ideally suited for MRO activities. Since the airport is not located near a major business center, we do not expect to have a large number of based business aircraft. However, our location will serve as an ideal place for transient business aircraft carrying passengers to and from meetings with local business interests in Midcoast Maine, and as a jumping-off point to Europe.” Customs and immigration clearances are available on demand, while the MRRA works to get them on site.

FlightLevel Aviation will operate from Hangar 6, located near the northeast end of Runway 1R/19L, for the next year or two, according to company president Peter Eichleay. “After the opening of Building 200 (also located off Runway 1R) we will operate our terminal from there. We will still have use of Hangar 6, which is heated and can accommodate Boeing Business Jets. The hangar was built six years ago and is in impeccable shape.”

Most customary FBO services and amenities are in place, including refueling, hangar storage, outside tie-down, flight planning, lounges, catering, conference room and rental cars. “Some limited routine maintenance is planned within a year,” said Eichleay. There will be “little or no ramp, parking or landing fees in the beginning,” and initial fuel pricing will be “very competitive to encourage operators to try us.”

While Eichleay preferred not to share with AIN his forecast for fuel sales and aircraft movements, MRRA’s Levesque projected that in its first year, BXM will see some 100,000 gallons in fuel sales and 9,000 aircraft movements (not including sales and movements expected from the June 4 fly-in and an airshow/business aviation expo to be held August 26 to 28).

Only Runway 1R/19L is open at present. The control tower will not be staffed until the number of annual aircraft movements reaches FAA criteria. But waiting to come on line soon are instrument approach procedures, PAPI and approach lighting, and the rotating beacon. Pilot-operated runway lighting is available via unicom. For more information on operational requirements, contact FlightLevel BXM general manager Eric Nevers (207-406-2081/2082/unicom 122.725) and see http://mrra.us/bxmairport.html.