September 29, 2008

Fixed-Base Operator Lands Jet

By Heerwagen, Peter

Arcadia Aviation, the fixed-base operator at the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport in Martinsburg, has completed construction of its first hangar and is about to receive its first private jet customer, said Hank Willard, vice president for development.

Owned by Rob Garrett in New York City, Arcadia's business model is to establish a presence at secondary airports near large international airports to capture private aviation business that does not want the inconvenience and congestion at those airports.

Willard said the company is about to build a hangar at a second airport, Sullivan County International Airport in the New York Catskill Mountains, 90 miles west of New York City. It is an alternative to the White Plains, LaGuardia and Kennedy airports.

In Martinsburg, Arcadia has recently completed a 24,000- squarefoot building, the firstphaseof 200,000 square feet of hangar space. In June 2007, the company received a $1.215 million loan from the West Virginia Economic Development Authority.

"The hangar can accommodate up to eight planes, depending on the size," said Willard. "We have one plane that arrived last month; it's a private jet we have under management for the owner. Because we have a Part 135 certificate from the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration], we can charter it out. We provide the pilot, do the maintenance and can broker charters.

"We're also talking to some entities interested in leasing the entire hangar-government contractors that do aircraft modifications, or corporate flight departments. If we do lease it, we have [local government] approvals to go ahead and build the second phase."

As for the impact escalating fuel prices have had on the aviation industry, Willard said it has affected everything, but the commercial side more than general aviation. "Even though there have been some price reductions, it's still a big factor. We deliver some of the lowest jet fuel prices in the region to attract business."

Copyright News for Business, Inc. Sep 2008

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