Cecil Airport History
Like many of Northeast Florida’s airports, Cecil began as a military training facility in the buildup to World War II and eventually grew into a Navy Master Jet Base with the third-longest runway in the state of Florida. Cecil was named in honor of Commander Henry Barton Cecil, member of a prestigious U.S. military family and 1910 graduate of the Naval Academy who was killed in the 1933 crash of the Navy airship USS Akron. Below are some of the major milestones in Cecil’s history, from its time as a substantial Naval Air Station to its current role as the premier development site in the Southeast U.S.:
CECIL AIRPORT / CECIL COMMERCE CENTER HISTORY AND TIMELINE
•US Navy first opened an airfield on the west side of Jacksonville, FL and is named in honor of Commander Henry Barton Cecil.
•Cecil Field operated as a U.S. Navy master jet base.
•The U.S. Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommends closure of NAS Cecil Field.
•Jacksonville City Council approves Cecil Field Base Reuse Plan.
•Navy turns over Cecil Field ownership to the Jacksonville Airport Authority and the City of Jacksonville.
•FCCJ’s Aviation Center of Excellence opens.
•JAA expands Hangar 815 and relocates Flightstar Aircraft Services to Cecil Field.
•Cecil Recreational complex opens including Jacksonville Equestrian Center, Aquatic Community Center, fitness center, and softball fields.
•Cecil Field hosts more the 1,200 flight operations associated with Super Bowl XXXIX.
•FSCJ dedicates Cecil Center North Campus.
•Bridgestone opens a 1 million square foot distribution center at Cecil Commerce Center.
•FSCJ opens air traffic control school.
•FLARNG completes a facility expansion to include the construction of a 38,000-square foot hangar.
•Saft America, Inc. constructs $200 million high-tech battery plant at Cecil Commerce Center.
•JAA is issued a Launch Site Operators License by the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space.
•JAA welcomes Fleet Readiness Center Southeast into a newly constructed hangar.
•Hillwood and the City of Jacksonville sign a master development agreement for Alliance Florida at Cecil Commerce Center.
•JAA undergoes rebranding and Cecil Field is renamed Cecil Airport.
•JAA, Flightstar, and FSCJ complete a $20 million Aircraft Services Education Facility.
•LSI completes building expansion and establishes Cecil Airport as corporate headquarters.
•Jacksonville JetPort completes construction on Hangar 925, a $1.4 million hangar.
•FSCJ dedicates Commercial Vehicle Educational Facility.
•JAA completes construction of a $5.8 million, 30,000 square foot hangar.
•JAA and Flightstar complete construction on H935, a $27 million hangar.
•Governor Rick Scott signs House Bill 59, officially declaring Cecil Spaceport as a designated Space Territory.
•FedEx constructs a 300,000-square foot distribution center.
•Cecil Airport temporarily bases 50 aircraft from NAS Jacksonville while the Naval Air Station undergoes a major runway rehabilitation project.
•GE Oil and Gas completes construction on a 510,000 square foot advanced manufacturing facility.
•JAA and LSI construct Hangar 955, a 30,000-square foot hangar.
•Jacksonville JetPort completes construction of Hangar 945, a 27,000-square foot hangar.
•Generation Orbit performs the first X-60A rocket engine hot fire test at Cecil Spaceport.
•Hillwood completes construction of Amazon’s new 1 million square foot distribution center.
•Hillwood completes a new 400,000 square foot spec building.
•JAA begins construction on a new air traffic control tower and spaceport operations facility.
•JAA and Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department completes construction on Fire Station 73.
•JinkoSolar leases a portion of new Hillwood spec building, to accommodate its most advanced solar panel manufacturing operation.
•Industry West leases a portion of new Hillwood spec building for a new distribution operation.
•Hillwood begins construction on a new 1 million square foot e-commerce distribution facility for Wayfair.
•The Jacksonville Aviation Authority, City of Jacksonville, US Navy, and partners receive an award from the •Environmental Protection Agency for the rehabilitation of Cecil Airport and Cecil Commerce Center.
•JAA celebrates 20 years since the turnover from NAS Cecil Field to a civilian public use airport.