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Airport fixed-base operator considering expansion in Florence

Airport fixed-base operator considering expansion in Florence

BY JOE PERRY Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. – Fixed base operator Precision Air is pondering an expansion at Florence Regional Airport.

Precision Air is in charge of ground handling, maintenance and fueling operations under a 15-year contract with the Pee Dee Regional Airport Authority that began in March. Company representatives told board members Wednesday evening of their plans.

A 2,000-square-foot building that is undergoing renovations to become the new FBO hub and main point of entry for general aviation customers has an Aug. 20 target date for completion, said Todd Gibson, FBO manager. He also said a new 40,000-gallon fuel farm should be operational by July 15. Maintenance hangar doors that are 55 feet 8 inches wide for the 12,000-square-foot hangar need repairs and need to be widened to accommodate larger aircraft, he said. He raised the possibility of the authority covering costs of the repairs and Precision Air paying for the widening, which he said could save both entities money. One quote was $25,000, he said, and another was $31,500. He also said Precision Air has added staffers, has a new website up and running, has new uniforms in use, has had new utility poles installed to power equipment needed to service heavier aircraft and has ordered new signs.

Tim Summerow, vice president of operations for Precision Air parent company TKC Aerospace, said he wanted to advocate for the hangar door issue as well as a possible ramp expansion and additional taxiway space to allow for a “proper turnout” for aircraft dropping off and picking up passengers at the new FBO building. Corporate jets could offload and more easily and efficiently turn back onto the tarmac, he said. He also said that four government aircraft on site will require weekly servicing and maintenance and the expected revenue will be mutually beneficial.

“We’re very optimistic” that current capacity will soon be exceeded, he said, in floating the idea of a new T hangar.

Paving the new taxiway and ramp would cost somewhere “in the neighborhood” of $120,000, he said, but those projects are usually funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Authority Chairman Glen Greene asked Norwood Bonnoitt, who heads the FBO committee, if those issues would be taken up by his committee, and Bonnoitt agreed.

Joe Powell reported on the authority’s finances, telling fellow board members that May’s net income was $4,850 before depreciation and year-to-date is $97,000. That’s operating money, he said, and if grants and other revenues are included, the number is $260,000.