New airport hangar to open in May
When officials at Chandler Field, the Alexandria municipal airport, were offered the chance to build a large, heated aircraft hangar for only 11 percent of the total cost, they jumped at the opportunity.
Construction was scheduled to begin this week on a brand new, $683,698 aircraft hangar that will offer the option for medium-sized jets to be stored inside at the airport for the first time.
Airport Manager Todd Roth said corporate jet owners often ask about space to store their expensive property. Once the new hangar is completed, they will finally have that option.
“When you’ve got yourself a $20 million jet and you can throw it in a hanger for $200 to $250, that’s nothing,” Roth said. “That’s peanuts for these guys.”
Alexandria is only on the hook for about 11 percent of the total cost as federal funds are paying for most of the construction. The hangar will mostly be used to temporarily store “transient” jet aircraft, or those owned by people who do not live in the area.
“By storing it over in our big hangar, they don’t have to worry about it being hailed on, they don’t have to worry about wind damage, they don’t have to worry about it in the wintertime,” Roth said.
Corporate jets on average visit the airport nearly once every day. Roth said the amount of time they visit the city varies, but they could be tempted to stay longer with an option to store jets inside overnight.
“We’ve got at least on average about 300 corporate jets that come in to Alexandria on a yearly average,” Roth said. “Some days we get four, some days we get none.”
Having a place where the aircraft can be stored could spell out more money being spent in Alexandria. Those visiting with corporate jets may be compelled to stay in hotels and eat at restaurants in the city.
“It would be a big boon for the city, especially when the [construction] cost is basically 11 cents on the dollar,” Roth said.
While Alexandria is paying roughly $75,000 for the hangar, the fees to store aircraft in the building are predicted to offset the cost to the city in 10 years.
“You’ve got yourself a three-quarter of a million dollar building and you are paying $75,000, which is less than most houses in the downtown area of Alexandria,” Roth said. “It’s a no brainer, really.”
The airport could also rent extra space out to smaller airplanes owned by local residents who would pay more for the heated building. But the first priority will be to keep space open for larger jets to park overnight.
“There’s some high-end customers that would probably rather have their plane in a heated hangar over the wintertime,” Roth said.
Alexandria-based Srock Construction, Inc. was given the low bid for the project. Owner Kim Srock said the project will help the general contractor company stay in business through the construction season.
Roth said the construction will continue over the winter and could be done as early as May.
The building will be 90-feet by 100-feet, and the largest aircraft door will be 80-feet wide by 25-feet tall. The fully-insulated building will be the first heated hangar at Chandler Field Airport. The facility will also have plumbing for running water and restrooms.