Thursday, December 8, 2016

Willard Airport hopes Flightstar's new hangar is a big draw

CHAMPAIGN — Introducing Hangar 10.

It's Flightstar Corp.'s newest aircraft maintenance building, and its presence could be a positive sign for Willard Airport and passengers down the road.

Hangar 10 was built to maintain larger aircraft serviced by Flightstar, an aviation service business based at Willard.

But if larger aircraft can be maintained at Flightstar, theoretically that could be an incentive for airlines to use those larger planes for passenger flights in this market, said Willard Airport Executive Director Gene Cossey.

And if that happens, he said, "all that trickles down into the economy."

Flightstar, which has been in business since 1978, announced the completion of its sixth and newest hangar on Wednesday.

The company said its 31,000-square-foot Hangar 10 will serve as the primary facility of the Flightstar Airline Division, and it boosts Flightstar's total hangar space to more than 112,000 square feet.

The new hangar was built with such features as radiant floor heat, LED lighting and a Mega Door System to accommodate larger planes.

With work completed on this building, Flightstar is turning its attention to refurbishing its Hangar 3, which is attached to Hangar 10, with work on that building set to be completed next spring.

Will Moser, Flightstar's marketing manager, said the company started work on the newest hangar to be prepared for larger aircraft, though there aren't any definite plans for larger aircraft at this time.

"We're just basically increasing our available hangar space to anticipate future growth," he said.

"This additional hangar space allows Flightstar to continue to offer exceptional service today, and well into our future," said Bill Giannetti, Flightstar's president.

While the real significance of the new hangar development stands to impact Flightstar, Cossey said improved facilities and services at Flightstar can generate more business, "and the more business that is generated for Flightstar, the better it is for us, and the better for the community."

The future possibility of larger aircraft in this market also stands to boost Willard Airport's capacity, Cossey said.

One challenge the local airport has is insufficient capacity, and the more capacity the better, he said. Plus, passengers simply prefer to travel on larger planes, he said.

"They're just overall more comfortable aircraft," Cossey said.


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