PCDA Leases Airport Hangar to California Company

Ponca City Now - April 13, 2023 6:33 pm

April 13, 2023 – The Ponca City Development Authority (PCDA) Board of Trustees approved an agreement with NextGen Aviation Services, L.L.C., to lease a 30,000 square foot hangar owned by PCDA at Ponca City Municipal Airport. The lease begins immediately and will allow the company to establish a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operation at the airport.

NextGen Aviation Services is based in California with operations in Arizona and Missouri. In those areas, the company has remote crews based who either perform maintenance work on aircraft in Tucson or Kansas City, or they fly to the location of the aircraft to perform the work. Ponca City will be their first permanent operation for repair services to smaller jet aircraft.

The company president, Eric Haymes, grew up in Oklahoma and had family in Ponca City until very recently. He currently lives in Los Angeles. According to PCDA Executive Director David Myers, the company was first introduced to PCDA by former PCDA Board Chair Steve Hermann in June of 2021. “I was in Los Angeles at the time and Steve called me,” said Myers. “He essentially asked me if I was still in California and when I told him I was, he said he had someone he wanted me to have dinner with that evening. The rest took a long time, as these things usually do, but we’re excited that it finally came together.”

Haymes and other NextGen associates travelled to Ponca City several times over the next 21 months and went through the hangar several times. Mayers said that deal took a while as the company tried to assess the best use of the facility. “The initial idea was to expand the building so that they could fully house a 737 aircraft. There are FAA regulations about building size relative to the distance to the runway so that didn’t quite work out. They then looked at the other side of their business, small jets, and decided the building met those needs.”

“The bottom line is that Mr. Haymes liked Ponca City, had strong Oklahoma roots and wanted his business to succeed here,” Myers said.

NextGen Aviation has customers throughout North America. Their engine leasing subsidiary, for example, leases engines to Delta Airlines. The possibility of seeing larger aircraft visit the facility remains, although the company’s initial focus will be on smaller corporate jets. The hangar, which was originally built in the 1980’s for Conoco Oil, was built specifically for smaller jets.

Myers said that a MRO is very different from a Fixed Based Operator, or FBO which the City of Ponca City currently operates. “They will not be in competition, In fact, they will compliment each other. A FBO operation is for planes that stop at the airport for fuel, or something very minor that does not require an FAA repair license. A MRO is a full service repair operation. It has a FAA part 145 certificate, which is a license to do highly specialized work. The customers of the MRO will buy fuel from the FBO.”

The lease will run through December of 2031, although Myers said there is a one-time option for both the company and PCDA in the Summer of 2024 to exit if needed. The lease rate will be based upon employment at the facility with a minimum monthly rate of $6,500. PCDA will paint the large outside hangar doors sometime this Spring.

The vote by the PCDA Board was unanimous.




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