Thanks to a local company, the Delaware Coastal Airport is due for some major expansion of hangar space.
At its Feb. 9 meeting, Sussex County Council approved a 30-year lease with Schell Aviation LLC for two commercial hangars at the airport near Georgetown.
Under the agreement, Schell Aviation will construct two hangars totaling 20,000 square feet and lease the land for 40 cents per square foot. Schell Aviation is a subsidiary of Schell Brothers LLC, a homebuilder in Sussex County with a division in Richmond, Va.
The agreement allows for the company to construct one hangar as an option depending on its final business model, said Sussex County engineer Hans Medlarz. Schell Aviation was the lone bidder on a request for proposals to build hangars.
The agreement also includes 6,000 square feet of reserve space for fuel storage and/or additional aircraft parking.
The company plans to house its own aircraft in the hangar, and offer leased hangar space and aircraft maintenance.
Initially, Schell plans to store two of its aircraft, a C172 and T-206, with plans to purchase a Pilatus PC12 within the next year, and possibly store a G100 relocated from Wilmington.
In addition, the company is currently constructing a 31,000-square-foot hangar adjacent to the terminal building to house its corporate aviation fleet, and provide jet maintenance and other aviation-related services.
Once all projects are completed, the company will have more than 50,000 square feet of hangar space at the airport.
Even before they are built, the owner of two other aircraft is interested in space in the new hangars, according to Dustin Berlinger of Schell Aviation.
“Given we have not offered space in the current large hangar to date, we anticipate bringing in several small and medium jets,” he said.
More than $40 million worth of improvements have been made at the airport over the past decade. With an expanded 5,500-foot-long main runway, the airport is able to handle large corporate jets. County officials have plans to extend that runway another 500 feet in the near future to handle even larger jets such as the Boeing 757.
In 2015, the Sussex County Airport, which opened in 1943, was renamed Delaware Coastal Airport.
There are more than 35,000 takeoffs and landings at the airport each year.