Bama Air, one of the Tuscaloosa Regional Airport’s two fixed-based operators and a fixture of the facility for more than 30 years, has been sold.
Now, its facility is managed, owned and operated by Hawthorne Global Aviation Services, a provider of fixed-base operation services since 1932.
Fixed-base operators, or FBOs, provide a number of services for incoming and departing flights, from fueling and hangar services to lounges and convenience services.
They’re like fancy gas stations for the aircraft industry.
“We are continuing to expand our FBO network and Hawthorne Tuscaloosa broadens our U.S. geographic footprint,” said Bryon Burbage, president and CEO of Hawthorne Global Aviation Services, in a news release announcing the acquisition. “This location is a full-service FBO with a wide range of amenities, including aircraft management and aircraft maintenance along with warm hospitality you’d expect from any of the five Hawthorne FBOs nationwide.
“We are very pleased to be a part of the Tuscaloosa community and look forward to a long and productive relationship with the airport and the city.”
Hawthorne, headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, began efforts months ago to acquire the more than 75,000 square feet of hangar space and a 5,000 square-foot passenger terminal that, until between 1995 and Monday, was operated by Bama Air.
It now features a spacious lobby complete with fireplace, a wall mounted widescreen television, wireless Internet access, meeting room facilities and flight planning as part of the $150,000 or so in upgrades that Burbage told the Tuscaloosa City Council the company would be investing.
The Tuscaloosa City Council granted approval of the sale of the terminal and its leasing agreement from Bama Air to Hawthorne in September. The council’s approval was required by city code, since the airport is a city-owned facility.
Before the sale could be completed, the site underwent an appraisal and valuation process to determine the new lease rate.
NexPhase Capital and Hawthorne Corp. formed Hawthorne in 2010 to pursue an FBO acquisition strategy. NPC provides the company with strategic advice.
Hawthorne Tuscaloosa adds to the Hawthorne network that now includes FBOs at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip, New York; Cobb County International Airport in Atlanta; Chicago Executive Airport in Chicago; and Chippewa Valley Regional Airport in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.