Atlantic Aviation recently finished its nearly $9 million investment in the Rifle Garfield County Airport, which is now fully operational complete with new state-of-the-art facilities. Though the new facilities and equipment have been in service for only a few weeks, Rifle Garfield County Airport Director Brian Condie has already heard firsthand from pilots and passengers that the airport looks better than ever.
“I’m very pleased with how everything turned out,” Condie said. “Now we have much-needed extra aircraft space to put in the hangars.”
The project included a new 30,000-square-foot heated hangar, which includes 6,000 square feet of office space and 1,200 square feet for ground service equipment. Condie said that because of the limited space, the airport’s hangars had been sold out through the winter for the past couple of years. But the new hangar provides more space for up to three Gulfstreams. Even with the additional spots, hangar space has already been sold out through the winter.
“Atlantic Aviation’s completion of a new hangar and customer lobby is their latest investment into our airport and demonstrates their commitment to making our airport in Rifle the best general aviation airport in Colorado,” Condie said in the Rifle Garfield County Airport press release.
As part of the investment, Atlantic Aviation, the airport’s fixed base operator, also redesigned its lobby for pilots and travelers to come through and relax after a long flight. Condie said it has the “best pilot’s lounge in Colorado.”
“We’ve heard from multiple pilots that wish they could stay longer and commented on how nice it is,” Condie added.
The new lobby provides anyone who comes through the airport a place to go and feel at home with state-of-the-art bathrooms (something Condie assures is the first thing on everyone’s wish list for airport lobbies), conference rooms and a variety of sitting areas. The pilot’s lounge includes a fireplace, televisions and even a snooze lounge.
During his time with the Rifle airport, Condie has seen plenty of improvements made to the third busiest general aviation facility in Colorado, but this investment has been planned for some time. Though Atlantic Aviation just became the airport’s operator in 2008, the upgrades and investment for a new hangar and additional facilities had been planned as early as 2002.
In addition to the new services and facilities available, the airport recently became home to the state’s Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting. The county invested roughly $4 million into the airport in 2016, which included a single-engine air tanker (SEAT) to help shorten ground time for pilots battling wildfires, and provides a de-icing station for planes in the winter.
The airport held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in late December to celebrate and show appreciation for Atlantic Aviation’s investment. Denver-based Tectonic Management Group Inc., the company that built the new hangar, presented a plaque to Atlantic Aviation during the ceremony. Nationwide, Atlantic Aviation serves as a fixed base operator at 69 location in 30 states, including several airports in Colorado.