As the Sumner County Regional Airport Authority prepares for expansion, it has selected an Indiana-based fixed base operator to provide services for aircraft owners.
IndyJet’s arrival means complete aircraft servicing for piston and jet engine aircraft, airport Manager Roe Massey said Tuesday. The company will also provide aircraft for those interested in aviation lessons and or pilots wanting to rent a plane for the day.
The company currently operates as an FBO in Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio.
Massey said the airport authority put out a request for proposals earlier this year after the lease with GTO Aviation LLC ended. About a half-dozen companies met the deadline.
“In order to provide the services the airport needs as we prepare for expansion, they were the best option by far,” Massey said.
The expansion project is expected to cost $6.2 million, with nearly $3 million covered by state funds and another $330,000 in local funds. The balance will be funded by FAA discretionary funds. All told, it’s the airport’s biggest projects since construction took place in 1962.
In addition to maintenance, IndyJet works with clients to provide charter flights, catering and ground transportation at its two other locations.
The SCRAA has an average daily traffic count of about 80 aircraft. With a runway 6,300 feet in length, the SCRAA is able to handle “just about any kind of aircraft,” even a GulfStream 650, Massey said.
About seven part-time workers are employed by SCRAA, but IndyJet should bring another six to 12 jobs, Massey said.
The airport’s growth isn’t just a win for Gallatin, but for Hendersonville, Sumner County and beyond.
“A business that’s coming here, they’re going to be flying in. They want somewhere where they can get in and out quickly,” Massey said. “And with the music scene like it is, they’re able to fly out of here without all the fans being around.”
As soon as next month, work will be underway to resurface the area where planes are parked for loading, unloading and refueling. That area will later be expanded toward the west, providing room for nearly two dozen new hangars and terminal.
When Gallatin was in the path of totality for the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, that number to between 115 and 130, with an additional 30 jets, Massey said.
“It was a zoo. There were people from all over the world. Some just landed, got off their aircraft and stayed in the shadow of their aircraft, got back on and left,” he said.
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