More hangars for airport?

Published 12:43 pm Saturday, November 12, 2016


SARA has waiting list; board considers building

There’s a growing need for T-hangars at South Alabama Regional Airport.

SARA Co-Director Jed Blackwell said earlier this week that they have 25 private hangars, which doesn’t include the Twin hangar complex, nose dock hangar and the building Vector Aerospace occupies.

Blackwell said there is a waiting list of six people wanting a hangar and board member Donald Barton just added an additional two people to the waiting list, as well.

“Historically we’ve always built the hangars, but it’s something we want to consider,” he said.

Blackwell said that the Airport Authority could apply for a 50-50 grant to construct the T-hangars for single engine planes.

“We don’t want to use our entitlement funds for the T-hangars,” he said, referring to funds airports receive each year from the FAA.

Blackwell said he thinks it would cost around $400,000 to make that purchase.

He contacted Covington Rural Services and they can get a 1 percent grant plus a letter of credit.

However, the cost to construct the hangars was much higher than his projections.

“It would be between $600,000 and $650,000,” he said. “I don’t think that’s in our best interest.”

Blackwell said with the ALDOT 50-50 grant, the most they can receive in $250,000.

“It would be two to three years out before we could do that,” he said.

They charge $125 per month for rent on the T-hangars, which wouldn’t cover the cost to do it.

Blackwell asked commissioners who were present at the meeting about the possibility of getting help from the county with site work.

“I think it’s a great thing if we can get some help,” he said.

Board members instructed Blackwell to scope out the resources and put together a business plan.

Additionally, they could use airport improvement plan funds to help with the site prep, etc., and still be eligible for AIP.

Engineers told the board that the FAA likes to plan ahead and that it’s a good idea for them to put in their plan that they would possibly be asking for additional funding.

Barton said the people on the waiting list are local people buying airplanes.

Blackwell also told the board they were in talks with a new tenant who would lease airport property and would build a hangar. The agreement would be set up that the building would come back to the airport if the tenant left.