The airport gets a new operator; many upgrades planned

Indianapolis Regional Airport
The new fixed base operator at Indianapolis Regional Airport plans to invest in several capital improvements at the facility in Mt. Comfort. (File photo)

By Susan Orr | Indianapolis Business Journal

MT. COMFORT – Local airline Aero Management Group has acquired the lease to Indianapolis Regional Airport and is planning several capital improvements and the addition of charter services.

Mt. Comfort is one of several general aviation airports owned by the Indianapolis Airport Authority, which also owns and operates Indianapolis International Airport.

Aero, based in Greenfield, acquired the leasehold rights at the regional airport by acquiring another local company, Indy Jet.

Indy Jet had the lease right to act as the airport’s permanent base operator – the unit that operates the airport and offers services including refueling, flight maintenance, flight training and more. With the acquisition, Aero now owns these leases and is the airport’s permanent base operator.

The Indy Jet acquisition ended on December 31st. Aero refused to disclose the financial terms of the agreement.

Aero is planning a makeover for the airport’s exterior and upgrades for landscaping, carpets, paint and woodwork. The improvements must be completed by the end of the next quarter.

“It’s going to be a whole new look and a significant investment on our part,” said Aero CEO and owner Quinn Ricker, former president and CEO of Ricker Oil Co.

Ricker said Aero also plans to introduce on-demand flight charter service at the airport through Jet Access Aviation, a Palm Beach, Florida-based company in which Aero owns a 50% stake.

Aero has seven other airport flight locations in four states and a charter certificate with 46 jets managed and / or chartered on behalf of clients. The company said it was planning to convert its private jet and aviation business to Jet Access to adapt it to its charter business.

The change comes as the airport continues a two-year process that updates its master plan to keep pace with its growth. The airport has more than doubled the annual amount of fuel it has sold in the last decade and has gone from a handful of aircraft based there to more than 20. It has also doubled the amount of hangars over the last many years and added a maintenance shop for Cessna Citation jets.

The update will include studies analyzing the airport’s facilities and infrastructure, the reach of the community and an evaluation of the airport and its role in the national airport system. It will also address ways to reduce environmental impacts and determine future construction projects, which may include an air traffic control tower and runway extensions.

The airport received a $ 166,666 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to help update the master plan last year.

Mitchell Kirk of the Daily Reporter staff contributed to this story.

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