Meacham Airport gets new admin building, revamped, amenitized FBO

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Fort Worth’s 91-year-old Meacham International Airport got a facelift this morning when officials cut the ribbon on a new 85,000-square-foot administration building.

The four-story facility will house the airport administration offices and also house American Aero FTW as the primary tenant and the only Fixed Based Operator (FBO) in the new facility.

The makeover of the administration building is being funded primarily by the City of Fort Worth, about $20 million worth, with a major investment by American Aero FTW, owned by financier and philanthropist Robert M. Bass. The city’s $20 million comes primarily from oil and gas revenues from production on municipal airport facilities, according to Jeff Kloska, Fort Worth’s assistant director of aviation and manager of the airport.

“What we’ve done is turn those funds into usable operational revenue for the aviation department,” he said.

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Hahnfeld Hoffer Stanford performed architectural services for the renovation of the existing 1968-era terminal building into Class A office space for multiple tenants. The lead contractor was Imperial Construction.

One key feature of the new building is the glass used on all sides of the structure. It’s called View Dynamic Glass from View Inc., a company based in of Milpitas, California. The electrochromic windows automatically tint to reduce heat and glare while maximizing natural light. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony shortly after 10 a.m. windows to the north, facing the sun, were a deep blue, while windows facing east were clear.

“This is a significant transformation for the airport, which opened in 1925, and American Aero FTW has played a key role in making it happen,” said Kloska. “This is a proud day for Meacham International Airport, which is now poised for growth as the premier corporate and general aviation facility in North Texas.”

The city’s aviation department will be located in the newly renovated building, along with other city department staff – Code Compliance and Planning and Development – and other airport tenants, including American Aero FTW. Coming on board soon at the new building will be an onsite U.S. Customs and Border Protection office that will increase the number and type of annual operations at the airport. Currently, FBOs that have customers requiring U.S. Customs services have to schedule U.S. Customs officials to come in from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

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“This will be a 24/7 operation,” said Kloska. “This will really be a great deal for customers using Meacham. We’ve had a lot of requests for this.”

Meacham Airport has three FBOs: Texas Jet, Cornerstone, and American Aero. The FBOs provide a majority of the airport’s fuel flowage and hangar space.

“The city’s commitment to rebuild the terminal and invest in upgrading the airport created the opportunity to partner with the city to make Meacham International Airport a major gateway. We worked with the city to create a five-star experience for our tenants, the arriving and departing pilots, and their passengers,” Bass said.

That five-star experience is evident throughout American Aero FTW’s new 8,400-square-foot portion of the new administration building. The facility includes modern passenger lounges and fully equipped conference rooms. Pilot and crew lounges include a large-screen smart TV, fully reclining seating, work stations, plenty of charge stations for mobile devices, a soundproof sleep room, shower, kitchen, and flight-planning room. A dedicated air concierge team serves both passengers and crew. The interior includes sound-masking to reduce noise and design ideas modified from places like the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas. The amenities don’t stop there. For planes seeking a quick turnaround time, the dishwasher in the kitchen can scrub a load of dirty dishware in 90 seconds.

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But it’s not just comfort for passengers and crew. In 2015, American Aero FTW became the first FBO in the Western Hemisphere to earn International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) accreditation, which recognizes rigorous safety and ground handling operations. In addition to the new facility, American Aero FTW has built three new, state-of-the-art hangars and more than doubled its hangar space, for a total of 280,000 square feet of leasable hangar and office space. The FBO also offers 11 acres of open ramp. Meanwhile, a wireless fuel meter system allows for instantaneous and precise on-ramp transactions, according to Riggs Brown, general manager of American Aero FTW.

Architectural design for American Areo FTW’s portion of the building was done by Shenkel-Schultz of Miami. Balfour Beatty was the lead contractor.

“This is certainly an exciting day in the history of Meacham Airport and American Aero FTW,” said Bass.

Meacham officials estimate that the airport’s economic activity exceeds $200 million annually. Meacham exceeded 140,000 operations in 2016.

The new building will get another bit of polish in February, when a new public artwork installation called Collective Transitions is installed. Designed by artist Kipp Kobayashi, the artwork will consist of hundreds of laser cut sheet steel in the shape of six unique “paper airplanes” hanging in the atrium of the new building.

According to the artist, the design was inspired by the idea of workers busy with paperwork or students tossing assignments in the air on the last day of school.

Also this week, the Fort Worth City Council is voting to approve a five-year capital improvement plan for the city’s airports, including Meacham, Spinks Airport and Alliance Airport.

Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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