Dave Edwards, President and CEO of the GSP Airport District, offers a toast after announcing that the fixed based operator will be handled in-house under the brand name Cerulean.
Cerulean Aviation begins on Jan. 1 when Stevens Aviation’s 10-year contract expires New Year’s eve.
Cerulean becomes the commercial and general aviation FBO at GSP. It will employ 30-40 people when fully staffed. All Stevens’s employees were offered jobs and those that opted to stay remained at GSP.
“We’re not the economic engine, but we’re definitely a cog in the economic engine,” Dave Edwards, President and CEO of GSP, said. “It’s another major milestone in the evolution of GSP.”
GSP is undergoing a $125 million terminal improvement project, Wingspan that is scheduled for completion late this year with the grand opening scheduled in January.
About two years ago the GSP Board of Commissioners heard a presentation on how to move forward with the FBO. “All parties knew Stevens’ agreement would expire 10 years ago,” Howell said.
“We knew we had four options,” Kevin Howell, Vice President/COO of the Airport District, said. “We could extend the lease, have a traditional FBO, have a management contract or keep it in house.
“We talked a lot about how the GSP district could use fueling and ground handling services as an additional tool for airline recruitment and airline development,” Howell said.
Howell said Cerulean will provide fuel and maintenance for all aircraft. A 120,000-gallon jet fuel farm, housing four 30,000-tanks, is near completion.
GSP executives said Cerulean will establish itself as the premier FBO with the highest level of customer service.
Hank Ramella, vice chairperson, of the airport commission, said it was customer service that led GSP to take over the FBO.
“It is to serve the overall community with the GSP spirit,” Ramella said. “That is basically the reason, in that we have not felt the previous FBO has given the spirit of the community to the people arriving here.
“GSP has been so involved and want to provide wonderful and good service to everybody and we haven’t felt that it has,” Ramella said.
The four hangars will revert to GSP, Stevens lease the property, and they will be improved. Howell also said two new hangars will be built – a 30,000-square-foot bulk hangar for aircraft storage and a 17,000-square-foot corporate hangar.
An existing 30,000-square-foot hangar is being prepared for the PSA American Airlines regional repair/maintenance facility. GSP is investing $1.5 million in that project.
“We think it’s game-changing news not only for this airport, but game-changing for the region,” Minor Shaw, chairwoman of the commissioners, said.