Recent groundbreaking ceremonies for two new FBOs at Chicago Executive Airport may indicate the beginning of a growth trend for the former Palwaukee Municipal Airport (PWK). The FBOs, Brigadoon Aviation and Sovereign, will add services and amenities not currently offered by the two existing FBOs on the field. Both new FBOs are expected to open next fall.
Ken Ross, owner of North American Jet Charter Group, an operator of five Eclipse 500 very light jets (VLJs) from PWK, established Brigadoon Aviation to provide maintenance and support services to owners and operators of VLJs and other small aircraft. The $10 million Brigadoon campus will include two 25,000-sq-ft hangars as well as 25,000 sq ft of terminal and office space located in the eastern section of the airport.
“What we are doing is state-of-the-art,” said Ross, who described plans for Brigadoon Aviation as a five-star operation designed to provide aircraft owners, passengers and pilots alike with a “private club-like” environment. The facility will also include a certified VLJ/piston maintenance center, self-service fuel, and full-service fueling “for aircraft owners and pilots who prefer the option.”
Massachusetts-based Sovereign Development Group broke ground on its 104,000-sq-ft campus, which will feature more than 60,000 sq ft of hangar space, 30,000 sq ft of office space, a restaurant and executive terminal. A community park and two-story glass atrium used as an aircraft viewing area open to the public are also planned. All Sovereign buildings will be modeled in a classic 1930s Art Deco style as a tribute to PWK’s beginnings in 1925 as Gauthier’s Flying Field.
Approximately 294 aircraft are currently based at Chicago Executive Airport, which handles more than 110,000 aircraft operations annually. A recent study conducted by Wilbur Smith Associates estimated PWK’s annual economic impact at $330 million, approximately $128.1 million of which is generated by the 73 firms and agencies located at the airport in direct aviation-related dollars.