OSCODA – The Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport could soon see the construction of another multi-million dollar aircraft hanger project.
Plans for the new facility, which will be named “Hangar 10” are in the works, according to Don Nolan, Kalitta Air’s director of 145 heavy maintenance, who notified staff and others last week that steel has been ordered for the hangar project.
Hangar 10, according to Nolan is supposed to be the largest one yet, coming in at 92,000 square feet of hangar space. The structure will be 115 feet tall with an estimated cost of $12 to $14 million.
“It will be able to house any commercial or military aircraft currently in production or in service except the Airbus A-380 or the Antinov 225,” said Nolan.
Currently the sole cost of construction will be provided by Kalitta according to Nolan; however, the Oscoda Wurtsmith Airport Authority (OWAA) have created a land lease agreement, as mentioned briefly during the OWAA’s November meeting.
“Being built on the FAA’s AOA(Air Operations Area) the FAA allows you to build the structure once they approve the site plan. You pay for the construction, then lease the land it sits on back from the airport,” said Nolan. “You may own the building, but not the land. It’s how airports get funding to help offset operational and improvement costs.”
OWA Airport Manager Gary Kellan said the land lease agreement, which covers approximately 4.45 acres, is set for 25 years, starting on Jan. 1, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2046.
“The continuing investment and growth by Kalitta Air is sincerely appreciated by the airport authority and I think we have a really good working relationship with their team and I’m excited for their growth,” said Kellan.
According to Kellan, in reference to the agreement, he said OWAA doesn’t charge rent while the company isn’t making any revenue on the building.
“The rent is deferred from the time they break ground for 12 months and then after that 12 months it kicks in and there’s built-in increases every five years. Basically 10 percent every five years,” said Kellan.
The agreement is set to be presented to the OWAA for approval at their Thursday meeting this week. Following the potential approval of the agreement, Kellan said that there’s also some requirements related to the Federal Aviations Administration (FAA) and airports that have to be taken care of.
“You have to pursue and secure what’s called an airspace study. In other words the FAA and the Michigan Department of Transportation Bureau of Aeronautics does most of the work, but they sort of evaluate the proposed location and how it would impact airport operations and also plan development,” said Kellan.
He said further that the authority has a document called the airport layout plan which lays out the envisioned land uses over time and is required to identify the proposed site as being part of that land use plan.
“In short in satisfies the requirements of the airport’s master plan, but they have to get that confirmed through this airspace reverie. We’ve already done the Environmental Impact Study as well.”
As far as the reason for the expansion, Nolan said that their fleet has doubled over the past few years and business in increasing. He said further that once the hangar there could be additional hires at the airport from Kalitta.
“[Kalitta Air Owner Connie Kalitta] is always growing the company. Great man to work for,” said Nolan.
As far as construction, Nolan said he is hoping to break ground this spring as soon as the ground thaws, shooting for a completion date in 2022.