Sheltair Aviation's new $6.5 million executive hangar complex at Tampa International Airport opened Wednesday.
Encompassing more than 7.5 acres of land, including 2.5 acres of additional apron space to park, unload and refuel aircraft, Sheltair's hangar was built to accommodate the larger private jets that are coming into the marketplace. The larger footprint also adds 32,000 square feet of hangar and office space.
"This is the fifth hangar at Tampa," said Todd Anderson, Sheltair senior vice president for real estate and development, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in the new structure. Sheltair, a fixed-base operator that provides aircraft fueling, maintenance, hangar and other services for private aircraft, has a long-term vision to design and build new hangars throughout its FBO network to better serve its clients and airports.
Depending on the size of the aircraft, Sheltair's newest hangar can house another four to five large cabin-class private planes, Anderson said. These jets, he said, "are really a tool for corporations. I call them time machines. You go from the car to the plane in 15 minutes," bypassing delays and red tape experienced by commercial airplane passengers.
The new hangar was designed with 28-foot-tall doors and an infrastructure that can meet the operational needs of private plane owners and their crews, Anderson said. The structure also features the latest fire protection requirements with a new state-of-the-art, high expansion foam fire suppression/protection system. The hangar has a depth of 130 feet front to back and a 230-foot, side-to-side opening.
Demand for hangar space has risen in the two years since Sheltair came into TIA, Anderson said. Sheltair now has 18 to 20 planes based in Tampa. The complex provides over 170,000 square feet of hangar, office and FBO terminal space on the southeast side of Tampa International.
"More and more people and companies are moving to Tampa," Anderson said. "There is affluence and corporate wealth here. Tampa is a hotbed for growth. We're very bullish on this marketplace."
Sheltair's CEO Jerry Holland echoed those sentiments at the ceremony.
"We're so happy that we’re here because this is one of the most vibrant economies right here in Hillsborough County, Tampa that you'll see anywhere around the country," Holland said.
TIA's CEO Joe Lopano said Sheltair "is a really important company for us not only because our economy, as Jerry said, our economy is growing, our regional economy is growing, so that the demand for these types of facilities continues to go up."
Lopano noted the Super Bowls and national college football championships that Tampa has hosted and will continue to host in coming years. "As you know many private jets come in for those type of events," he added.
Corporate and general aviation total revenues at TIA were up 8.5 percent over the last year. Sheltair's total annual revenue to TIA is $900,000, which represented 60 percent of the market share last year, said TIA spokeswoman Emily Nipps.
"In addition to corporate aviation's role in serving our business community, our partnership with our fixed-base operators like Sheltair is essential for our region to be able to host these mega events Tampa Bay has been famous for lately,” she said. "When we hosted the National College Playoffs Championship game last year, Sheltair alone helped accommodate more than 300 private aircraft that flew in for the game. It’ll be the same story when we host Super Bowl in 2021."
Nearly two years ago, Sheltair came into the Tampa market when it acquired Tampa International Jet Center at TIA after a year of negotiations.
Sheltair operates 17 FBOs throughout the U.S. The privately-owned, Fort Lauderdale-based company also manages more than 3 million square feet of aviation-related properties throughout Florida, Georgia and New York.