Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview stands out from its competitors

Bob Sikes Airport aerial view

This aerial view of Bob Sikes Airport’s north end shows a 2012 taxiway-widening project and Qwest Air Parts’ new hangar and apron.

Special to the News Bulletin
Published: Friday, April 26, 2013 at 01:35 PM.

CRESTVIEW — "Bob Sikes Airport's proximity to the interstate, to rail transportation and highways, Mobile, Pensacola, Fort Rucker and the various regional military bases puts it in a perfect location," said Derek Lott, a former Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce president, former chamber Airport Committee chairman and a private pilot.

The county's foresight to buffer the airport against residential encroachment allows the facility's industrial tenants to grow and new tenants to come in.

L3 Crestview Aerospace, north Okaloosa County's largest private employer, BAE Systems, Qwest Air Parts, Capital Aviation and Sunshine Aero Flight Testing are among regular runway tenants.

To lure more tenants, particularly those in aircraft maintenance and modification fields, county airports staff and chamber of commerce members appear at aviation trade shows. The National Business Aviation Association's meeting, the nation's premier general aviation exposition, has generated promising leads, officials said.

A pre-permitting program expedites the bureaucratic process for qualified tenants to begin building their facilities, county Assistant Airports Director Tracy Stage said.

"It allows a company to come in and essentially begin construction on facilities instead of waiting to obtain state and local permits," he said. "It drastically reduces those time frames."

Pensacola entrepreneur Dan Gilmore, the airport's newest tenant, is refining rental-hangar construction plans by his company, RonDan CEW.

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