The Gary/Chicago International Airport (GYY) Authority Board on Monday approved the expansion plans of one of the airport’s two fixed-base operators, B. Coleman Aviation. The expansion could result in up to $20 million in investments over the next seven years and substantially increase B. Coleman’s footprint at the airport.
“B. Coleman Aviation has been a trusted partner in the growth of the airport for more than two years and we’re thrilled to approve their expansion plans,” said airport chairman Stephen Mays. “There are a lot of exciting things happening at the airport, and this is the latest in public and private sector investments that will help the airport grow.”
In November 2014, B. Coleman Aviation opened a $9 million, 52,000-square-foot hangar at the airport. The facility significantly increased the airport’s capacity for general aviation and cargo operations.
- Coleman’s multi-phase expansion plans include a new, 30-year ground lease for property just north of the FBO’s current facility and the construction of up to five new hangars over the course of the next seven years.
The first phase of the expansion is set to begin within the next 12 months with the construction of a new, 40,000-square-foot hangar and a minimum initial investment of $5 million. Future phases would allow B. Coleman to develop four additional hangars with additional investments of $15 million. B. Coleman will begin paying rent on the ground lease immediately.
“In the past two years, our business at Gary/Chicago International Airport has grown significantly and we no longer have enough space to meet demand,” said John Girzadas, president of B. Coleman Aviation. “We are excited about the future growth prospects for the airport. Our plans to grow reflect not only where we think the airport is today, but where it is going in the future.”
During his presentation before the Authority Board, Girzadas noted construction of the new hangars will result in 50-70 construction jobs. Long-term, the expansion will create up to 30 full-time positions servicing aircraft and managing the expanded facilities.
In recent years, Gary/Chicago International Airport has experienced significant growth. With the opening of B. Coleman Aviation, the airport added a second, industry-leading FBO. Gary Jet Center, the airport’s original FBO, has also increased its footprint with the construction of two new, LEED-certified hangars. In June 2015, the airport completed a $174 million runway expansion. The extended, 8,900-foot runway allows the airport to serve heavier planes flying to farther destinations.
Last month, the airport’s full capabilities were on display with the launch of the Indiana National Guard’s Slovak Shield 2016. Two C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, loaded with four Black Hawk helicopters and Indiana National Guardsmen, and a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft fully-loaded with support equipment for the mission departed from the airport for a month-long joint exercise in Slovakia.
The scale of the Indiana National Guard mission reflected the airport’s growing capabilities and showcased the vast opportunities for the private sector.
At Monday’s GYY Authority Board meeting, the board also approved an agreement with Duff & Phelps for appraisal services of the airport’s fixed assets.