The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency can now process non-U.S. citizen general aviation flight arrivals at New York’s Long Island MacArthur Airport. Arrivals are processed through the agency’s newly renovated facility at the airport’s main terminal between Gates B14 and B15. In operation from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. seven days a week, the facility can clear a combined maximum of 20 passengers and crew per general aviation flight.
Commercial aviation has entered its second century, New Year’s Day having marked the 100th anniversary of the first flight with a fare-paying passenger. To celebrate, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has established 2014 as a year to reflect on the “contribution of aviation to modern life.” St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line flew the 23-minute first service across Florida’s Tampa Bay, using a Benoist Model XIV airboat with St. Petersburg mayor Abram Pheil in the only passenger seat. To mark the centennial, a Hoffman X-4 Mullet Skiff airboat retraced the route on January 1.
Activity among the service provider chains over the past few months suggests the FBO consolidation kettle is steaming again and whistling loudly. Last month, Atlantic Aviation, which previously had no Florida FBOs, made a big splash with the announcement of its $195 million acquisition of Galaxy Aviation. Atlantic added four of Galaxy’s Florida FBOs: at Orlando International, Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine, Witham Field Airport in Stuart and Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach.
Atlantic Aviation parent company Macquarie Infrastructure announced late last week that it acquired Galaxy Aviation, a Florida-based FBO chain with six facilities, for $195 million. The agreement is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to government approvals.
Plans for a new 40,000-sq-ft paint hangar at West Star Aviation’s Grand Junction Regional Airport facility in Colorado are moving ahead, despite apparent fiscal problems facing the airport authority.
West Star had reached an agreement with the airport authority to build the paint hangar, after which the authority would issue an $8 million bond, purchase the hangar from West Star and then lease it back to the company.
Houston-based Million Air has added the first Florida FBO to its network with the recent purchase of Avion Jet Center at Orlando Sanford International Airport. The service provider is set to embark on a $3.5 million renovation of the facility, with work starting on the 10,000-sq-ft hangar at the beginning of the year. The location also features a 7,000-sq-ft terminal, which will soon provide all the usual Million Air amenities, including a theater room and soda bar.
Agents of the FBI entered the administrative offices of Grand Junction Regional Airport on November 7 and seized approximately 100 boxes of airport records dating from 2009 to the present. To date, neither the bureau nor the U.S. District Attorney’s Office has given a reason, and a federal judge has sealed court records of what airport authorities assume is a federal investigation.
NetJets expects to operate approximately 200 flights in and out of Florida’s Miami-Dade area this week for Art Basel in Miami Beach, a modern and contemporary art show. For the 12th year in a row, NetJets has partnered with the international show, allowing the fractional aircraft company to provide its customers with access to the entire event, including the preview opening. This year, NetJets plans to host more than 800 of its customers and their guests in an expanded, exclusive and private NetJets lounge in the collectors’ area of the show.
A Learjet 35A operating as a medical evacuation flight crashed November 19 shortly after it took off from Runway 9R at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport. All four people aboard were killed. About a minute after departure, the crew told ATC they needed to return to the airport and shortly thereafter transmitted a “Mayday” call. The aircraft hit the water about three miles northeast of the Florida airport.
Piper’s aircraft deliveries and revenues “trended up” for three consecutive quarters, continuing an improving trend in a challenging economy for general aviation aircraft. During the third quarter, Piper delivered 41 aircraft, including eight Meridian turboprop singles, worth $37.2 million. In the first nine months, the Vero Beach, Fla. aircraft manufacturer shipped 127 aircraft, including 20 Meridians, and revenue from new aircraft sales grew to $113.9 million, compared with $106.9 million during the same period last year.