By: Kari Lucin
Every week, Jamestown Regional Airport gets at least two phone calls asking about available hangar space, and every week, the answer is that there isn’t any.
Airport officials hope to change all that, so they’re hosting a meeting for prospective hangar renters and builders at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the airport.
“There’s a lot of demand for hangar space, and there has been,” said Matt Leitner, JRA manager.
Currently, the airport has 19 hangars that house 51 planes.
“We have a number of folks that want to house their airplanes but … we have nothing available, so many of them are going elsewhere to hangar their airplanes,” said Jim Boyd, chairman of the Jamestown Regional Airport Authority. “So we’d like to get them back here in Jamestown.”
The plan is to build three banks of 10 single-plane T-hangars along the south side of the crosswinds runway, Boyd said.
Everyone interested in housing a plane at the JRA should come to the Wednesday meeting, Boyd said. There will be sketches that show size and location of the planned hangars.
“We’d like to, kinda, pick their brains on what features they’d like to see in the hangars,” Boyd said. “Do they want to have heat in there? What size of airplane, would they be single or twin?”
The JRAA has not yet decided whether to build the hangars themselves and rent them out, or to have a developer build and lease the space.
Jamestown Regional Airport Authority has been discussing the need for hangars for at least two years as two of the group’s goals have converged — plotting future land development and increasing general aviation at the airport.
General aviation, Leitner explained, is all aviation that isn’t either military or scheduled carriers, such as Great Lakes Aviation’s commercial flights from Jamestown. General aviation includes business jets, flight instruction, the civil air patrol and private aircraft.
Getting hangars, and thereby increasing general aviation also means increasing the airport’s operations, which in turn is used as one of the variables that determines funding levels, Leitner said.
It would also help increase business for the local fixed-base operators, who sell fuel and offer airplane-related services. Taxes on fuel sales provide funding for the airport improvement program, which helps airports maintain and enhance infrastructure, Leitner said.
“We’re really concentrating on general aviation. We’re trying to coalesce it as a community and make it more active and vibrant at this airport,” Leitner said. “Because every public airport is dependent on general aviation. It provides numerous services for any community.”
General aviation means people fly into Jamestown, which means economic activity for the area — fliers might stay at hotels, eat at restaurants, rent cars and visit local tourist attractions, Leitner said.
“It not only benefits the airport, but it benefits the community,” he said.
Leitner isn’t the only one receiving calls asking about hangar space either. JRAA members get them, and so do the local fixed-base operators.
Currently, when people call, Leitner tells them the airport is aggressively pursuing construction of hangars to accommodate more aircraft.
“We’d really like to encourage a big turnout,” Boyd said of the Wednesday meeting. “All those people that would like to see growth at the airport to show up and tell us what they think. Show up; we’re listening.”