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 Fall 2015


In “Plane” View

Many southern communities offer airports with industrial sites next door

By Trisha Ostrowski

For many businesses seeking to reach national and global markets, locating near an airport is an excellent move. This is especially true for aviation and aerospace firms.

Several communities across the South offer highly accessible sites that have airports right next door. For aviation and aerospace companies, these locations offer a variety of winning attributes such as low business costs, proximity to research and development facilities, and workforce training programs onsite or nearby.

Here’s a look at some of the South’s airports with industrial sites next door, making them prime spots for aviation or aerospace companies.

Wallops Research Park
Accomack County, Va.

Located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Wallops Research Park offers a unique opportunity for companies involved in aerospace and defense work. The park offers 226 acres of property available for development directly adjacent to the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and minutes from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport and the U.S. Navy’s Surface Combat Systems Center.

In addition, the park is receiving an $8 million investment in state and local funding, which will increase amenities to include:

  • A new 1,200-foot taxiway connecting tenants to NASA Wallops FAA towered airfield and 8,000 foot runways.
  • Water and sewer connections
  • Open access fiber optics
  • Industrial roads, lighting and utilities

These improvements are expected to be complete by the end of 2015.

KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre
Kansas City, Mo.

The 800-acre KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre offers Foreign Trade Zone status and Enhanced Enterprise Zone tax initiatives. It is also as accessible as a location can be -- literally the center of the country, with access to all major U.S. markets via three different interstates, air side access to KCI airport, and easy connectivity to Kansas City’s other new rail intermodal and facilities business parks.

Alliance Global Logistics Hub
Fort Worth, Texas

The world’s first 100 percent industrial airport designed for cargo and corporate aviation, Fort Worth Alliance Airport is home to the Alliance Global Logistics Hub. This fast-growing complex offers a variety of flight services, including air cargo, corporate and military aviation and state-of-the-art infrastructure for business.

UCF Business Incubator
Volusia County, Fla.

Founded in 2011 as a partnership between the University of Central Florida, Volusia County and the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the UCF Business Incubator was recently recognized as “Incubator of the Year” by the National Business Incubation Association. The program has grown to include eight locations across Central Florida. The Incubator site located at the U.S. Customs terminal at Daytona Beach International Airport serves a wide variety of businesses within a 9,600-square-foot modern office facility.

Owensboro-Daviess County Airport
Owensboro, Ky.

Kentucky’s Owensboro-Daviess County Airport serves nearly 1 million people in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Tennessee. It is also home to 15 businesses and agencies, and that number should increase with the recent announcement that the airport is expanding again for the second time in four years. The airport, which has three fixed base operators (MidAmerica Jet, Modern Transportation and Watts Aviation) became the third in the state to have a runway of 8,000 feet. The FAA grants the airport $1 million annually for boarding more than 10,000 passengers per year.

Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley
Mobile, Ala.

The Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley offers unmatched logistical advantages, combining rail, road and water access, along with the Mobile Downtown Airport. Developed originally as a U.S. Air Force base during World War II, Brookley was chosen and created with infrastructure centrally in mind. Today, the mixed-use complex is home to a variety of companies in industries as diverse as aerospace, retail, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing. The complex offers a range of land and building use options, and is close to the city’s center. It is also close to the future Intermodal Container Transfer Facility and APM Terminals Mobile.

Jetplex Industrial Park
Huntsville, Ala.

Alabama is also home to the Huntsville Jetplex Industrial Park, which is a 4,000-acre space divided into six areas to meet diverse business requirements. The Jetplex community includes 54 companies representing seven countries in a wide range of industries, from automotive to aerospace to office and lab to warehousing and distribution. With more than 2,800 acres available for immediate development and amazing logistical and geographic advantages, it is a prime location for growth.

Arkansas Aeroplex
Blytheville, Ark.

Comprised of 1.5 million square feet, the Arkansas Aeroplex is one of the South’s prime locations for business development. Formerly Eaker Air Force Base, the Aeroplex is a multi-modal transportation facility located near Interstate 55. It includes six airplane hangars, a test facility for jet engines, maintenance buildings with air compressors, and an 11,600-foot runway.

Acadiana Regional Airport
New Iberia, La.

Acadiana Regional Airport offers true intermodal transportation options along the Gulf Coast, with an 8,000-foot lighted runway, 5,000-foot lighted seaway, on-site Louisiana Delta rail spur, and easy access to Highway 90. Just minutes from the Port of Iberia, the airport’s 125-acre industrial park is home to Louisiana Technical College’s Teche Area Campus, University of Louisiana’s Research Center, as well as a variety of nationally-known companies. It also boasts nearly 1,200 acres available for development.

Chennault International Airport
Lake Charles, La.

In Lake Charles, Chennault International Airport has become an important maintenance repair overhaul center with operations by Northrop Grumman and AAR Corp. State-supported development of an Aircraft MRO Center of Excellence at nearby Sowela Technical Community College shows how valuable the aerospace industry is to the area.

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta Airport has been the world's busiest airport by passenger traffic since 1998, and by number of landings and take-offs since 2005. The airport handled over 45 million passenger enplanements in calendar year 2013.Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport
Atlanta, Ga.

For many aerospace companies, a location like Atlanta holds a great deal of appeal. This is probably why, even during the recession, the area continued to add aviation and aerospace jobs. Being centrally located between Mobile, Ala. (Airbus), Jacksonville, Fla. (Embraer) and North Charleston, S.C. (Boeing) is an obvious attraction for distributors and suppliers in this field. Couple that with the fact that Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport is a key airline and travel hub, and you can see why this area continues to attract new business.

Port San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas

Another redevelopment project is taking place in Port San Antonio (Texas). Formerly Kelly Air Force Base, the 1,900-acre industrial complex is home to more than 80 organizations and 12,000 employees in the aerospace, logistics/manufacturing, and government/military sectors. The Port has almost 8 million square feet of facilities, including hangars, workshops, warehouses, offices, educational/training centers and workforce housing.  It also is contained within a Foreign Trade Zone with direct air, rail and highway access. It is centered between both U.S. coasts, as well as being three hours’ drive from the Gulf of Mexico. Sites are available for built-to-suit options, including locations with access to an 11,500-foot runway and direct connections to Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway trains.

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