Richmor Aviation executives feel confident enough about the Capital Region’s economic future that they’re promising to invest $1.2 million at the Schenectady County Airport, more than doubling the amount of hangar space the company uses for business aircraft.
The new 20,000-square-foot hangar will be able to accommodate as many as four business jets — aircraft that corporate executives are able to fly from coast to coast. The expansion leaves Richmor with about 84,000 square feet on the 24-acre site, nearly doubling the space that can be dedicated to storing business aircraft visiting the county-owned facility.
James Valachovic, Richmor’s chief financial officer, said the decision to undertake such an aggressive expansion was reached after company officials watched the ongoing expansion of GlobalFoundaries in neighboring Saratoga County, in addition to other signs of growth at other large companies. He said Richmor’s presence at the airport should help it tap some of the business coming in with the Capital Region’s evolving economy.
“This is a significant investment,” he said of the expansion. “We’ll be well positioned in the region to help these companies and support them in their needs.”
Richmor President Mahlon Richards said the company’s vision is to bring more corporate jet management, jet charter and maintenance to the site. He said the location is perfect for time-critical flights that local technology companies require to visit their national or international affiliates.
“Our investment here dovetails with county economic development efforts to attract more corporations to invest and build here,” he said.
Though Richmor already occupies 64,000 square feet, only about 14,000 square feet is allocated toward housing business jets. The rest of the space is allocated for offices, smaller airplanes hangared at the airport and classroom space for Schenectady County Community College’s aviation program.
“This is a large expansion for us,” Valachovic said.
Founded in 1967 and based in Hudson at the Columbia County Airport, Richmor also has operations at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh. The company serves airports worldwide.
“We are the only regional company with global capabilities,” he said.
County officials are planning additional infrastructure work for the airport this year. These projects included a new sewer line, a road extension to open more sites for development and upgrades to the runway area.
Last year, the county received $815,425 through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program to improve runway safety. The funding is designated for rehabilitating the existing runway to help the airport run efficiently.
For several years, county officials hoped for upgrades at Richmor’s facility so the airport could attract a greater number of corporate clients. The fixed base operator is in the middle of a five-year lease with Schenectady County that will likely be amended in the near future.
County spokesman Joe McQueen said the expansion is good news for the county, which could garner added revenue from boosts in fuel sales and annual lease payments. Though he is unsure how much Richmor pays the county annually, he said legislators intend to hammer out a new 20-year lease that would reflect the larger footprint the company occupies at the airport.
“The goal is to have it be more favorable for the county,” he said of the lease.