Flightstar hangar cost estimates come in high, JAA to pare back design

May 23, 2013
Carole Hawkins
Reporter- Jacksonville Business Journal

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority will pare back a bit on the design of a new paint hangar planned for Flightstar Aircraft Services Inc. at Cecil Airport.

A contractor’s estimate placed the project above the $30.5 million expected cost. The JAA did not say how high the estimate was, but did say they are working with Flightstar to make sure all of its needs for the project will be met.

Flightstar provides maintenance and repair services for commercial aircraft and counts FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) and Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) among its customers. Founded in 2000 in Jacksonville, the company has expanded several times and now employs 900 workers.

The JAA is planning the new hangar so Flightstar can expand again, this time adding about 400 new jobs.

The original hope was to build a 113,000 square foot hangar, with 10,000 square feet of office space and 32,000 square feet warehouse and shop space and also, to make improvements to taxiways, aprons and related transportation facilities. The contractor is Balfour Beatty PLC of North Carolina.

The government will spend $27 million, with the JAA and the Florida Department of Transportation sharing that cost equally. Flightstar will pay for any amount above that.

But, it can only afford to spend so much, company vice president Tim Bergin said, since it will be renting the building from the JAA rather than owning it.

“The contractor’s estimate just came in way over. But, we’re confident we’ll get there,” Bergin said.

Bob Simpson, chief of Cecil Airport, said, “We are in the process of looking at how much $27 million will buy and deciding how much more Flightstar wants to build.”

Bergin said Flightstar may lease warehouse space at another location in order to bring the project cost down.



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