With New SNA Lease in Hand, ACI Plans $85M Project

 - September 17, 2020, 6:19 PM
ACI Jet's new project at John Wayne Airport in Southern California will include the construction of this 25,000-sq-ft terminal. (Photo: ACI Jet)

Aviation services provider ACI Jet plans an $85 million project for the construction of a new FBO at John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Southern California following the approval earlier this week of a new 35-year lease agreement with the Orange County board of supervisors. The project will include the construction of 100,000 sq ft of hangars, more than 100 T-hangars, and a 25,000-sq-ft FBO terminal.

The project will serve to consolidate ACI Jet’s footprint at SNA, which has been split between east and west sides of the airport since it took over FBO operations there from Signature Flight Support more than three years ago. “It’ll be bigger and more importantly the aesthetic design for the needs that it fulfills,” ACI Jet CEO Bill Borgsmiller said in describing the FBO terminal, which also will include a customs facility. The FBO will also have a self-serve avgas island and an area for “light” general aviation, he added.

Construction is not likely to start for another year, he said, because ACI Jet’s plans are part of a larger redevelopment effort on the general aviation side of SNA that also includes new construction by the airport’s other FBO provider, Clay Lacy Aviation, and Jay’s Aircraft Maintenance, both of which were also approved for long-term leases. “We’re working with them to try to make sure we don’t step on each other’s toes with our phasing and timing of everything,” he said.

As part of the new lease, ACI Jet has agreed not to sublease space to what the airport and lease documents characterized as “regularly scheduled charter service providers.” That means that its current tenant, JSX, won’t be able to operate from ACI Jet’s facilities beginning January 1.

“JSX has been a good tenant and we want to support them as long as possible to help facilitate a transition into a new location at John Wayne Airport,” Borgsmiller said. “With respect to the county, we respect the fact that it’s their airport and we will act in accordance with whatever decision they choose to make.”

In addition to SNA, ACI Jet has other California operations at San Luis Obispo Regional Airport, Paso Robles Municipal Airport, and Oceano County Airport. It is an authorized Bombardier maintenance provider and also offers charter and aircraft management services.