Crusader Staff Report
Things will be looking up for the Gary /Chicago Airport in 2018.
Officials at the airport are celebrating a number of improvements that will position the airport to make the year an even bigger one than 2017.
Last August, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security approved a design plan for an on-site General Aviation Customs and Border Patrol facility. The move brings the project one step closer to completion by mid-summer. International travelers will be able to depart and land at the airport without clearing customs at another airport.
While international travelers can depart from Gary, they can only land there after clearing customs at another airport. Lee Companies of Gary, Indiana will manage the construction of the airport’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. The facility is expected to be completed in early 2018.
Airport officials say they saw a nearly 12 percent increase in operations compared to 2016. Officials expect landing fees and fuel flowage to exceed those in the 2016 total. They are among several highlights that indicate the airport will continue to improve this year.
Last November, B. Coleman Aviation opened a new 40,000 square-foot hangar as part of the FBO’s $20 million investment to grow its footprint at the airport. The new hangar is one of four state-of-the-art aircraft hangars B. Coleman could build at the airport over the next seven years.
The new hangar offers a 28 ft-door and can house four large-cabin aircraft plus eight midsize to small body aircraft. It will significantly boost the capacity for transient customers and offer short-term and long-term lease options.
“The hangar was built to meet the growing demand in the region for business aviation services, particularly as the hangar options continue to dwindle at nearby Midway airport,” said John Girzadas, president of B. Coleman Aviation. “Once customers experience the convenience and economic advantages of the Gary/Chicago Airport, we anticipate our customer base will continue to grow considerably.”
- Coleman Aviation’s further expansion plans allow for construction for up to four additional hangars, including build-to-suit options for private aircraft owners and corporate flight departments.
In October, the Jet Center opened its new $3 million 8,300-square-foot Corporate Flight Center, which is south of the airport’s administration building. The Jet Center still maintains its headquarters on the airport’s east side.
A glass-walled lobby that includes an espresso bar and 45 seats with a view of the airport’s new runway, was completed in 2015. The building offers three crew lounges, pilot sleeping rooms, a crew kitchen and laundry, conference room and TV rooms.
The Jet Center has about 60 employees.