Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Syracuse Hancock International Airport (KSYR) getting new 'front door' for people flying by private aircraft

Syracuse, N.Y. -- Syracuse Hancock International Airport is getting a second fixed-base operator to provide aviation services to private aircraft.

Steel is going up at 110 Air Cargo Road near the main entrance to the airport for a Million Air facility. 

The $10 million facility will consist of a 28,000-square-foot hangar and what project officials described as an "upscale" 11,000-square-foot terminal. It will provide aircraft storage, fueling, ground handling, cleaning and other aircraft services. In addition, the terminal will have a passenger lounge, a hospitality check-in area, a soda and coffee bar, quiet rooms, a flight planning area, offices and a multimedia conference room.

"We didn't want it to be just a big hangar," said Scott Freeman, CEO of Freeman Holdings Group, which will operate the facility under a franchise agreement with Million Air.

Planning for the project began in 2012 by Syracuse Jet Real Estate Management LLC, a partner in the project.

"Our vision was to create a new front door to Central New York for business leaders, government officials, entertainers and other distinguished guests arrive by private aircraft," said Mike Wetzer, Syracuse Jet's manager partner.

Project and airport officials held a ceremony at the construction site Wednesday marking the raising of steel for the facility. They signed a beam that was then hoisted into place by workers with Hueber-Breuer Construction Co.

The facility, which will have room for up to about 25 aircraft to park, is scheduled to open in March 2018.

The state is providing an $810,000 grant for the facility, which will employ approximately 15 people.

Million Air will be the second fixed-base operator at the airport. The other is Signature Flight Support on Tuskegee Road, the successor to longtime operators Executive Air and Sair Aviation.

Airport Director Christina Callahan said the location near the airport entrance was chosen because of its visibility and the fact that it can use an existing taxiway.

She said having a second FBO at the airport "means competition, which is always good."

"When you look at the services the airport offers, we want to give our customers options, and having a fixed-base operator at the airport is no different than having a number of airlines," she said. "It's good for the airport, it's good for our customers, it's good for the local economy."

She said airport officials were in discussions with Signature about possible improvements to its facility.  

"Signature does a great job of running their facility," she said. "They've had a long history at the airport, and we've been talking to them about investments they'd like to make." 

Signature officials did not immediately return a call from seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.

Million Air was founded in 1984 by the Mary Kay Cosmetics family in Dallas, Texas, to serve Mary Kay customers and sales representatives at the company's hometown airport.

It currently has 24 facilities in the U.S., including in Albany, Rome and White Plains in New York, and six in other countries. The Syracuse Million Air will be the 13th operated by Freeman Holdings.

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