GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A boost for aviation and economic development. That's how community leaders are describing a new hangar building at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Located in the general aviation area, the new T-Hangar building includes eight hangars for small, private aircraft.
"It's a wonderful day to be able to open up these hangars. And to have a place for the people like my friend, Jim Watt, to come and put his airplane in here. Fly it in, be right here at home, 'cause he lives right here in Gulfport, Mississippi. And he can have a place to put his airplane and enjoy life," said Airport Authority Chairman Joe Spraggins.
MDOT paid for $250,000 of the half million dollar project through its multi-modal program.
"To me, I see it as economic development. That's what it's all about. Any time you can help with economic development, we need to do so. Mississippi needs it," said Southern District Transportation Commissioner Tom King.
Forget the traditional ribbon-cutting scissors, airport leaders used a plane's propeller to snap the red ribbon. This 9,000 square foot hangar facility, is officially open for leasing.
"We'll bring more airplanes in here. There's some airplanes coming that are not here in Gulfport now, that would station here if they'd had these hangars years ago. So we're going to be able to bring them back," said Chairman Spraggins.
Airport Director Clay Williams said while the new hangars will certainly benefit general aviation, they will also provide a significant boost to the airport itself.
"It brings more traffic in and out of the airport. It's people buying fuel. It's more takeoff and landings here at Gulfport-Biloxi International. So we're pleased to have this opportunity to construct this infrastructure," said Williams.
Airport leaders are hoping the success of this hangar project, will lead to more.
"Build a couple more and just keep going. And get this airport back going good," said Chairman Spraggins.
The hangar spaces are now for lease. They range in size from 1,100 to 1,500 square feet.