Boeing will expand its operations at Williams Gateway Airport and a Tucson company will lease enough hardto-find hangar space there for 30 general aviation aircraft, the airport’s authority announced Monday.
Boeing will be leasing Hangar 37, an open-ended hangar at the southwest portion of the airport, as well as a small adjacent office building, starting in January. The move represents an expansion of Boeing’s Apache Reset program, which repairs and maintains activeduty military helicopters.
HDH Systems, a provider of high-density hangar solutions for individual and commercial applications, has signed a lease to develop Wings Valet at Williams Gateway.
The general aviation hangar and aviation-related business complex will consist of an initial phase that will hangar up to 30 general aviation aircraft. The development will be on the northwest side of the airport.
The authority said Wings Valet is particularly significant for the Valley’s general aviation aircraft owners, who currently face up to a nineyear wait for hangar space throughout the area’s airport system. The facility is expected to break ground in late 2006.
Both leases are significant in the continued growth of the airport, the authority said following its monthly meeting.
"We’re now for all intents and purposes 100 percent leased out," said Brian Sexton, airport spokesman, adding there are only two or three small offices left to lease. "What that means to Williams Gateway is if you want to do business at the airport, you will have to build a facility."
The authority also approved an agreement Monday with Vision Air to provide regularly scheduled passenger service, expected to begin in April.
The new leases will add to the more than 1,100 jobs and $250 million annually in economic activity at the airport, said Wendy Feldman-Kerr, Williams Gateway Airport Authority chairwoman.
Hangar 37, where Boeing will expand, was built in the 1940s and is one of the original buildings from the former Williams Air Force Base. It is nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. It was the airport’s last large piece of property to lease.
Boeing will use the space to support a $41.5 million contract reached with the U.S. Army in July to refurbish 70 Apache Helicopters. It was a follow-up contract to one awarded in 2004 for the refurbishing of 15 Apaches.
"To accommodate the increased support we’re providing to the U.S. Army, we’re expanding to provide room to do the work," said Hal Klopper, a Boeing spokesman.
The new leases at Williams come on the heels of past development agreements with Himovitz Properties, Philips Aviation & Realty, and Cessna.
Himovitz Properties is weeks away from completing a two-bay maintenance hangar and broke ground on another hangar this month.
A Phillips Aviation facility broke ground earlier this year on the northwest side of the airport, adjacent to the new Taxiway Foxtrot; it will accommodate aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 737.
Cessna is expected to break ground on its facility in 2006.
In terms of takeoffs and landings, Williams was the 92nd busiest airport in the United States in 2003, and it moved up to 53rd in 2004. So far this year, the airport is the 42nd busiest in the United States, Sexton said.
Williams Gateway in southeast Mesa, is owned and operated by the authority, which includes the Gila River Indian Community, Gilbert, Mesa and Queen Creek.