Proposed Expansion at Northern Colorado Regional Airport Not Approved
Current tenants that have a hangar or a tie-down area at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport were worried that month-to-month leases would end. However, an approval to move forward with JetCenter's request for proposal has been unanimously not approved by the Northern Colorado Regional Airport Commission. This decision was finalized in a July 15 meeting of the commission, according to our reporter on the scene.
There are around 60 people who have planes that they keep at the local airport for general/private aviation. They are hobbyists for the most part who've spent a lot of money on their planes and—according to information shared at the recent Regional Airport Commission meeting on June 23, 2021— pay about $185,000 total in monthly rentals to the airport each year.
Those leases will not come to an end, meaning these plane owners will (as of the writing of this article) have no need to look for new, affordable places where they can keep their planes. The potential change was due to one of the current fixed-based operations (FBO) centers, JetCenter, wanting to expand to the airport.
By expanding, JetCenter would have provided expanded services to businesses that kept their private planes there at the airport. The expansion would have also meant a restaurant/bar, which you'll find at other larger FBOs, like the one in Centennial, Colorado.
JetCenter requested to lease over 175,000 acres of land from the airport for 25 years, and would have spent upwards of $30 million on new hangars. The small-time flyers who would have been evicted would not be invited back for use.
Darin Atteberry, City of Fort Collins City Manager and member of the commission, was concerned with the perception of making the decision. He mentioned that the City of Fort Collins board may not be able to support a lease, and therefore the decision to move towards an RFP was not approved.
According to the Loveland Reporter-Herald, JetCenter's proposed lease would bring in over $20,000 less every year than with the current tenant situation.
On one hand, JetCenter's plan would have made the airport more legitimate with better hangars and more services, but on the other hand, who's really benefitting from all of that? Certainly not the near-60 plane owners, some of which are aerial search and rescue flyers.
Martin Lind, who owns Discovery Air at the airport, another FBO, is more supportive of making the airport better in a way that would allow commercial flights to come and go from the Northern Colorado Regional Airport. This, in kind, could mean that you or I could fly out to our destinations from a location much closer than DIA. At the recent ceremonial beam fitting ceremony for Discovery Air at the airport, Lind told our reporter:
In my personal opinion, if the airport was aggressive, we could have it by the end of the year. If they want to continue on the government's plan that they've had for the last 10 years, we may never get it. That's a hard statement for me to say, but I'm disappointed with seeing other cities smaller than us have services greater than us. It's not right. You should have great services out of this airport."
We will continue to update you on the expansion as plans move forward.
Note: We were initially provided with information that the motion had been approved. It has not. We have since updated our story and apologize for any confusion our initial report caused.