Bob Walesch since 1984 has held senior positions with four major FBOs and spearheaded the launches of two of them that are located on medium-size business-aviation airports near warm oceans. He’s now the v-p and general manager of the brand-new Avitat Boca Raton (Fla.), which opened late last year.
The turn of the new year has seen several new facilities opening in time for the winter season.
• In Oakland, Calif., the Business Jet Center had its grand opening on December 1. The FBO terminal is the old airline passenger terminal on the historic airport, and the art deco motif used in the renovation reflects its history.
“We’ve come a long way from my mom’s garage in 1982 to our current 43,000-square-foot facility in Fort Lauderdale,” said Armando Leighton Jr., CRS Jet Spares founder and CEO. The company provides parts exchanges, sales, provisioning packages, repair and rental options for Learjets, Hawkers, Gulfstreams, Challengers and Falcons.
Sometime in April, when the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys warm to a certain triggering temperature, thousands of prehistoric-looking fish called tarpon appear in schools on the shallow-water flats of Florida Bay. Soon after, they begin an annual circular migration on the Atlantic Ocean side from the middle Keys around Islamorada to Key West and back. Their backs are green.
Kissimmee Gateway Airport, which bills itself as the most reasonably priced and accessible Orlando, Fla.-area airport, has experienced strong growth in business aircraft traffic and fuel sales during the past year. Fuel sales (separate jet-fuel numbers are not available) grew 9 percent to 2.3 million gallons last year, and turboprop and jet traffic climbed 21 percent, according to an official.
Spring semester classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) started today despite an F2 tornado that ripped through the campus and destroyed most of the training aircraft on Christmas Day. There were only four people on campus at the time and no injuries were reported, according to a school official.
New funding from the Florida DOT for three projects at Page Field in Fort Myers includes $500,000 for landside improvements associated with a future terminal building; $761,000 for a new parallel taxiway; and $800,000 for reimbursement of construction costs related to a recently completed hangar project.
A wrongful-death lawsuit in connection with the Feb. 16, 2005, crash of a Circuit City Citation 560 has resulted in a $3.5 million out-of-court settlement for the family of one of the passengers. The payment will be made by Circuit City and Martinair, the Richmond, Va.-based manager of the aircraft.
Swissport Executive Aviation (SEA) was set to open a dedicated business aircraft handling operation at Zurich International Airport on January 1. This is the 57th facility in the company’s business aviation handling network.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened a new office at Santa Maria Airport (SMX) on December 4, with operating hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Jim Kunkle, president of FBO Central Coast Jet Center, said that Santa Maria is a frequent launch point for business jet flights to Hawaii. The first customer to use the new customs service was a BBJ flying from Asia early last month.