Coeur dAlene developer Marshall Chesrown plans to build a hangar facility at the Coeur dAlene Airport that will serve private and corporate jet flights there.
The facility likely will be called the Coeur dAlene Jet Center, and will be built on a site of about 20 acres at the southwest corner of the airport. The details of the proposed complex are being ironed out, but work on it could begin later this year, Chesrown says.
The jet center could be expanded into a terminal for commuter-airline flights later on, Chesrown says.
It will be basically a fixed base of operations like most major airports have in tourist areas, Chesrown says. It will be high-end, and provide services for pilots and passengers. Its going to be nice.
The facility will cater to people who either visit North Idaho for a vacation or have second homes there, he says. Chesrown says high-income people are coming to North Idaho, and it makes sense to build a fixed base of operation in Coeur dAlene because many of those individuals travel mostly on smaller private or corporate jets, rather than fly on scheduled airline flights.
Work on the two 20,000-square-foot hangars planned in the project likely will begin in a few months, Chesrown says. An additional structure that will have about 9,000 square feet of floor space for offices, a waiting area, and meeting rooms will be attached to one of the two hangars, he says.
Kootenai County owns the airport, which is located in Hayden, Idaho, and some of the surrounding land. Chesrown says hes negotiating a lease with the county for the land and to recover some development costs. He says he doesnt know yet what the project will cost, but that it will be under $10 million.
Were working with Kootenai County, and weve not finalized the design, Chesrown says. Hopefully, we get on the ground (to begin construction) this year. I just put the steel structures (for the two hangars) out to bid.
Coeur dAlene Airport Manager Greg Delavan says the county will help build some the infrastructure for the jet center, such as roads and parking lots. The county also will give Chesrown rent abatement for some of the public areas of the center, including parking lots.
Delavan is optimistic the project will get under way and says that the negotiations with Chesrown arent as much about money as they are about the projects design. Delavan says expanding the facility into a commuter terminal later would benefit residents.
We have people (from airline companies) come talk to us three or four times a year, trying to reinstate commuter flights between Coeur dAlene and Boise, he says. It would certainly mean a great deal to the community to be able to (fly) back and forth to places like Boise. It would make traveling easier.
Empire Airlines Inc., of Coeur dAlene, stopped its daily flights between the Coeur dAlene Airport and Lewiston and Boise in 1995, Delavan says. Empire has a maintenance facility at the airport, but now carries air freight out of Spokane International Airport as its main line of business.
A fixed base of operation, or FBO, such as the facility Chesrown plans is a place at an airport that serves the air-charter industry and small airplanes and helicopters. It can offer services, such as fuel, rental cars, temporary airplane storage, and maintenance.
The Coeur dAlene Airport already has two such operations, Resort Aviation Services Inc. and Southfield Fuel Inc. They, however, dont serve the high-end market adequately, says Delavan.
The airport needs a level of service that we dont currently provide to the high-end user, he says. We dont have adequate hangar space to house the number of aircraft that are arriving here. Its not uncommon to have a $30 million airplane sitting outside. The plane is subject to snow or frost in the morning. It creates a de-icing situation. Most of the owners of those airplanes prefer they be kept inside and warm, and then they roll them outside just before they use them.
The corporate and private jet traffic at the airport has increased dramatically in the last 10 years, Delavan says. He adds that the construction of upscale developments in the region has caused more people to fly in to and out of the airport.
Were getting several of these planes a day, he says. During the summer months, were seeing between 30 and 40 jets a day. Theyre coming from all over.
Chesrowns project could lead the way for additional projects being undertaken at the airport, such as building a control tower, Delavan says. Currently, pilots use the radio to call out their flight intentions, and use their eyes to watch for other aircraft when flying into or out of the Coeur dAlene Airport.
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