Airport lease will allow Tucson company to expand

2013-08-18T00:00:00Z Airport lease will allow Tucson company to expandBy David Wichner Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Tucson Airport Authority has approved a lease extension for Ascent Aviation Services Corp. that will allow the company to expand with a new hangar at Tucson International Airport.

The authority board recently approved the 12-year lease extension with three, five-year options.

Since acquiring the assets of bankrupt Global Aircraft Solutions in 2009, Ascent has been growing and had planned to build a new hangar. The Federal Aviation Administration-approved repair station specializes in maintenance of narrow-body jetliners, such as Boeing 737s, and employs about 150 full-time workers.

But the company had been unable to get a long-term lease at the airport, which was reluctant because preliminary airfield layout designs under the airport’s master plan showed Ascent’s plan could interfere with the planned relocation of TIA’s main runway.

In recommending the lease extension to the airport authority board, airport officials said the final airfield layout included in the airport’s master plan shows that the planned new runway alignment won’t affect the new hangar.

Part of Ascent’s aircraft parking apron will be in the way of a “clear zone” at the end of the planned runway, but other areas can be substituted with comparable parking space, airport officials said.

The 12-year lease extension includes three five-year extensions, provided that Ascent takes occupancy of the new hangar by the end of 2017.

Ascent’s current lease, which runs through June 2015, costs the company about $540,000 in annual rent, according to airport authority documents. The new lease will feature rent adjustments every two years based on the Consumer Price Index.

The planned hangar will be about 25,000 to 30,000 square feet and cost about $2 million, according to TIA.

The airport board also agreed to cooperate with Ascent’s efforts to secure bond financing for the new hangar through the local industrial development authority.

Ascent officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Besides the Boeing 737 and 717, Ascent is certified for repair and maintenance of McDonnell Douglas

MD-80/90 and Bombardier CRJ-100/200 series aircraft.

Ascent is awaiting final FAA approval to perform maintenance on Airbus A320 jetliners, which is expected sometime this fall.

The new certification is seen as a key to growth in business from Latin America, where A320s are prevalent, the company said.

Contact Assistant Business Editor David Wichner at 573-4181 or dwichner@azstarnet.com .

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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