Bangor Airport Begins GA Apron Renovations

June 1, 2012

Business aircraft operators flying into and out of Maine’s Bangor International Airport (BGR), a primary international entry port for general aviation (GA), will benefit from improved access this fall, when a $5.4 million renovation of the airport’s GA apron should be completed.

Currently, aircraft weighing 100,000 pounds and under can park on the apron, but the upgrade that’s now in progress will enable larger aircraft to park there, closer to the airport’s FBO.

The GA apron has long needed some attention, according to airport officials.

“The light-duty ramp apron area still has the existing pavement from the Dow Air Force Base days,” said Airport Interim Director Tony Caruso, referencing the base that became inactive in the late 1960s. “That pavement has certainly reached the end of its useful life, so it’s in need of repair and rehab.”

Bangor International Airport is home to approximately 35 general aviation tenants that fly aircraft such as Cessna 172s and Piper Cherokees, Caruso said, but it also sees a variety of transient aircraft, particularly in the summertime. The strengthened, updated apron will enable greater flexibility in managing local and visiting aircraft, as well as make it possible for operators of aircraft up to 150,000 pounds to park nearer to Bangor Aviation Services, the airport-owned FBO.

Gene Richardson, president of Maine Aero Services, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 145-approved repair station located at the airport’s general aviation terminal, agreed: “It’s been a long time coming in improving the general aviation area,” he said. “Once the project is completed, I feel it will be a more welcome place to visit for business airplanes.”

A $4.9 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant awarded May 24, 2012, under the Airport Improvement Program will primarily pay for the renovation. The city of Bangor and the Maine Department of Transportation will split the remaining 10 percent of the expenses.

Bangor received the federal grant thanks in part to support from legislators such as Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME), who were proponents of the renovation, said Caruso.

Michaud, a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, applauded the award, noting in a statement that the airport improvements “could lead to new business and travel opportunities.”

“Investments in our infrastructure create jobs, make our businesses more competitive and move our economy forward,” Michaud said.

The grant is already generating work for at least one Bangor business. Local contractor Sargent Corp. has begun the renovations, which include improving the underground drainage system, resurfacing the pavement and repositioning some of the aircraft tie-downs, Caruso said. Work will proceed in phases over the next several months to minimize the impact on airport operations, he added.

Sargent Corp. expects to complete the work by October.