BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: Orlando Melbourne International Airport Issues Exciting FAA Master Plan Update
By Space Coast Daily // August 24, 2018
MLB IS AVIATION AND BUSINESS HUB
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Orlando Melbourne International Airport recently expanded, and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the newly repaved runway L9/R27. Space
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Orlando Melbourne International (MLB) officials recently published an exciting updated FAA approved Airport Master Plan, which is a comprehensive study that describes the short, intermediate and long-term development plans to meet future aviation demand at the airport.
The Airport Master Plan was last updated in 2004 and the updated version looks forward to the next several decades of growth at Orlando Melbourne International Airport. This update to the Airport Master Plan provides the Melbourne Airport Authority a strategic guide for airport development through 2035.
The Airport Master Plan documents the Melbourne Airport Authority’s vision and overall plan for the airport, proposes an airport development program and identifies anticipated revenues and capital expenditure outlays.
The strategic planning for this update to the MLB Master Plan is built around several core principles: aviation safety; meeting the needs of airport users, passengers, and tenants; efficient use of airport property and orderly development of facilities; and a reasonable and achievable Capital Improvement Plan.
Input from airport users, tenants, local governments, businesses, and surrounding neighborhoods and communities is important to the success of the plan.
AIRPORT HAS RICH HISTORY
In 1933, the City of Melbourne acquired 160 acres west of the Indian River and established a location for a new municipal airport. During World War II, the U.S. government acquired the airport and developed it as Naval Air Station Melbourne.
The facility trained Navy and Marine pilots and housed German prisoners of war.3 The Melbourne Airport was deeded back to the City in 1946 under the Surplus Property Act and was once again operated as a municipal airport.
In 1952, Eastern Airlines initiated commercial air service at the then Melbourne Municipal Airport, and scheduled commercial flights have been provided at the airport since that time.
In 1967, the Melbourne Airport Authority was created by the City of Melbourne for the purpose of operating the airport. In 1990, the new passenger terminal building was completed and the airport was renamed as the Melbourne International Airport in 1993. In 1995, the International Terminal and air freight facility opened.
In 1967, Melbourne Airport Authority was established as a special board by the City of Melbourne to independently operate the airport. The MAA was granted jurisdiction and powers to control, supervise, and manage MLB.
This includes the ability to enter into lease agreements, granting concessions, and employing personnel. The MAA’s seven-member board serves two-year terms.
The Melbourne City Council appoints three of the members while the City’s Chamber of Commerce and Airport Industrial Park tenants appoint one member each.
The final two members are selected by the balance of the board. An Executive Director, the Director’s executive team, and administrative staff manage the day-to-day operation of the airport, as well as short- and long-range planning, security, maintenance and construction.
For more than 50 years, Brevard County has been the home of the nation’s manned and unmanned space flight programs. In addition to NASA’s launch facility headquarters at Kennedy Space Center, the area also has Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base, all of which play a major role in the nation’s space program.
The ending of NASA’s Space Shuttle program in 2011 resulted in a loss of approximately 8,000 NASA and civilian jobs over the course of a decade. The impact of the end of the shuttle program on local communities was compounded by the 2008 recession and its aftereffects.
Community leaders and the MAA, anticipating the end of the shuttle program, worked diligently to not only maintain, but grow, Florida’s Space Coast as a hub for aerospace, defense, aviation, and technology industries.
Presently, the Space Coast has 48 engineers per 1,000 workers; more than any other Florida metro area or any of the 25 most populated metros in the country.
This region also has the most concentrated high-tech economy in the state of Florida and the 16th most concentrated in the nation.5 As a result, thousands of jobs were created in the region.
Of particular note, MLB has become a focal point for job creation in the Space Coast region with major aerospace and aviation companies bringing new opportunities and thousands of jobs to the Melbourne area. In 2015, more than 6,000 people are employed by aerospace and aviation-related companies at MLB.
Aviation and Aerospace businesses at or adjacent to MLB include: Aircraft Assembly and Manufacturing – Embraer Executive Jets and Discovery Aviation; Aircraft Maintenance Repair and Overhaul – STS Repair and Modification, LLC, Apex Executive Jet Center, AAR Corporation, FIT Aviation and Heck Air; Aviation Training – FIT Aviation and East Florida State College; Avionics – Rockwell Collins, Avidyne Corp, Southeast Aerospace, LiveTV and Symetrics; Space, Aerospace and Defense –Harris Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, L3 Communications and DRS Tactical Systems.
In recent years, the airport has experienced tremendous growth with new and/or expanded facilities by its major tenants, including:
• Sheltair Aviation – a hangar developer at MLB since 1988. The company has constructed numerous T-hangar buildings and several aircraft storage and maintenance hangars at the airport.
• Apex Executive Jet Center (FBO) – established a new FBO facility and aircraft maintenance hangar in 2008 (formerly Baer Air) and then expanded with another hangar and additional apron space in 2017.
• Embraer Executive Jets – the company selected MLB in 2008 to establish its North American Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 assembly and showroom facility. In 2012, the company announced a major expansion of its campus at MLB with the addition of new facilities and the Embraer Engineering and Technology Center USA for research and product development, in effect doubling its initial presence.
• Florida Institute of Technology Research Park (Florida Tech Research Park) – in 2009, the Melbourne Airport Authority and FIT set aside a 100-acre parcel for use as a technology park to enhance and expand Brevard County’s technology-research infrastructure and create jobs for the Space Coast. FIT actively promotes the Florida Tech Research Park to attract business, government, and academic allies to identify, facilitate, and accelerate innovation so it can more rapidly be brought to market.
• Kindred Hospital – the long-term, acute care hospital was opened within the Airport Industrial Park (2010)
• Discovery Aviation – since 2011, the company manufactures aircraft (Discovery XL-2 and Discovery 201) and produces aerospace composite structures at MLB
• Florida Institute of Technology Aviation Programs – located at the airport since 1968, FIT Aviation relocated and modernized its education, flight training, research, and FBO facilities (2009)
• STS Repair and Modification, LLC – established a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) station at MLB in 2017, primarily servicing commercial service airline aircraft. They took over the 83,000 square foot state-of-the-art hangar at MLB that was previously occupied by AeroMod International.
• Northrop Grumman Corporation – located at MLB since 1987, has recently initiated a $500 million capital investment to expand its aerospace and defense-related research, engineering, development, testing, production facilities at MLB (ongoing)
• Harris Corporation’s continued investment in its headquarters located adjacent to MLB
• Other notable MLB tenants include AAR Corporation (aircraft maintenance), Southeast Aerospace (aerospace components and services), Circles of Care (hospital), Rockwell-Collins (aerospace and defense), and several technology firms, such as Ricoh USA and Revolutions Technologies.
MLB is a thriving hub for aviation, aerospace, and high-technology business. The airport’s infrastructure and engineering-oriented workforce have attracted businesses that contribute over $1 billion of annual economic impact.
Brevard County has one of the largest Foreign Trade Zones in the United States, including hubs at MLB, and offers five transportation options: space, sea, highway, rail, and air.
The area also boasts superior infrastructure for international trade including easy access to one of the busiest seaports in the country (with roll-on/roll-off capability), an extensive freight railway system, major interstate highways, plus launch pads for commercial space access.
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