Airport Trust Picks Tinker for Expansion

TULSA, Okla. -- The same developers who built the Tinker Business and Industrial Park have been selected to develop the 880 acres of land surrounding Tulsa International Airport.

Members of the Tulsa Airport Improvement Trust on Thursday approved a staff recommendation to select Tinker Industrial Developers-Tulsa. The trust and developer have 60 days to hash out an agreement.

The trust wants to maximize its existing businesses and attract additional commercial aerospace work to Tulsa, said Mary Smith, airport spokeswoman.

Tinker Industrial Developers will partner with Flintco Inc. to expand hangar space in hopes businesses such as Spirit Aerosystems, American Airlines, and L3 Communications can expand.

The development group also will look for ways to create "synergy," said Warren Thomas, managing partner.

"We're proposing integrating companies to launch a cluster," Thomas said.

Thomas helped form Tinker Business and Industrial Park, a military-aerospace cluster near Tinker Air Force Base. The business park has 30 companies with more than $1.5 billion in contracts with Tinker Air Force Base, Thomas said. Businesses at the office complex employ more than 1,000 people.

Development at the Tulsa airport would focus on the commercial aerospace industry. The project has the potential to be one of the largest developments of its kind with close 10 million square feet available for hangars, office space and manufacturing facilities, Thomas said.

Actual construction on land surrounding the airport may not happen for at least a year.