May 3--Avionics manufacturer Garmin International is opening a support office at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.
The office will support Wichita aircraft manufacturers that use Garmin products and will help support future new business, the Olathe company said.
Garmin also will be closer to Federal Aviation Administration representatives who work with the company on certification projects, said Garmin spokeswoman Jessica Myers.
The office initially will employ about six people, eventually growing to about 12.
"We're excited about this," said director of airports Victor White.
Garmin is signing a 10-year lease for a 5,952-square-foot facility at 2140 Airport Road, south of Yingling Aviation.
The building was built in 1953 as a weather bureau building. It most recently housed Dallas Airmotive but has been empty for four or five years, White said.
Garmin will renovate the building substantially and expects to open by mid-summer or early in the third quarter, Myers said.
In other airport news:
The airport is working with the buyer of Hawker Beechcraft Services to assume the existing lease with the operation.
Hawker Beechcraft sold its system of fixed-base operations to Signature Flight Services in February. White said the ownership change will occur in June.
The airport also is beginning to work on a long-term strategy for its fuel farm, which supplies fuel to the airlines and others who use the airport.
It is starting to investigate issues, such as who manages the fuel farm, its condition, future capacity needs and whether it needs to be modified or relocated, White said.
"Fuel is obviously a major issue with the airlines right now," White said. "We want to make sure the way we operate our fuel farm is the best way that is most economical to the end customer."
The airport is ready to put out for bid the first piece of a project to build a terminal building, which is expected to open as early as 2012.
Bids to construct the terminal won't go out for another year or so. But work on an airport parking apron will begin and utilities must be installed or moved.
Work is expected to start this summer.
Airport passengers and visitors will see some road closings and some traffic re-routed, White said.
In the meantime, architects will finish the basic terminal design in the next couple of months, he said.
Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or email@example.com.
Dallas Airmotive services numerous engines, including PWC, Rolls-Royce, Honeywell, and GE. For technical support call (214) 956-3001 or email turbines@BBAAviationERO.com. Hours: 24 hours.