Construction at the Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport continues with some work beginning, while other projects are coming to a close. Both, aviation officials said, will aid economic development in Glynn County.
The north apron, or ramp, expansion project, which began last summer, is nearly completed. The additional space will allow aircraft more space to park at businesses like Stambaugh Aviation. The apron will operate much like a road allowing aviation-based businesses to move up and down the stretch.
Robert Burr, executive director of the airport commission, said Stambaugh Aviation has been working on its own expansion congruent with the north apron construction. Once completed, the company will add 100 new jobs, in addition to other economic development prompted by the project.
“Stambaugh Aviation’s work is very noticeable ... you can see the height of the new hangar out there,” he said. “But the north apron work is close to being completed. There’s just some paperwork and punch-list items. Once it is completed, it will aid business development by increasing jobs and also allowing options for additional businesses to operate there.”
While that project is wrapping up, the east apron relocation work is just beginning. Like the name suggests, it involves moving an existing apron from its current location to the east side of the terminal building.
Like the north end, it will also allow existing tenants like Manning Aviation and Gulf Stream to expand while, ideally, luring in new businesses. Complementary infrastructure has already been put in place while airport officials waited for some federal funding to help with costs.
In addition to federal money, both the east and north apron projects are being paid for by a combination of grants and county-issued bonds, as well as a grant from the Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority.
Now that money is in hand, the east apron relocation project is moving forward. Burr said security fences were recently put in place as work begins.
“We have had some pretty good demand from people who want hangars. Some of that is being driven by the recent closure of the St. Marys airport,” he said.
That, he said, allows the Brunswick airport to gain business — both from the budding space industry and general aviation.
“There has been an increase in activity and interest in both of those areas since we are now the closest airport (to the proposed Camden spaceport) in Georgia,” he said.
As with the north apron, the work on the east side will allow business expansion. Manning Aviation, the airport’s fixed base operator, will invest $2.5 million in growing its own business. The company is currently waiting for the appropriate infrastructure to be put in place before its work begins.
“The investment also allows help for existing tenants and new tenants to expand in their area. So we are expanding in all different directions,” he said. “It will put companies like Gulf Stream in the position to expand in their footprint if they want, and we hope that they do.”
As far as boosting jobs, Burr is hopeful that the Manning investment will, eventually, yield more employment opportunities.
“Manning is not tied to a particular number of jobs for funding but obviously the more business and the more airplanes there are, the more likely they will need more people,” he said.