Cecil Field (VQQ) in Jacksonville, Florida, is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
It was a decade ago, in October 1999, when the U.S. Navy handed over ownership of the sprawling Cecil Field Naval Air Station to the city of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Aviation Authority as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendations.
The JAA owns and manages the 6,000-acre airport portion of Cecil Commerce Center, which includes three 8,000-foot runways, one 12,500-foot runway and 1.4 million square feet of hangar and office space. Today, Cecil Field has 11 mostly aviation-related tenants that employ about 3,000 personnel.
“During the past decade, Cecil has been transformed from a master jet base to a burgeoning intermodal logistics hub, home to a number of manufacturing, transportation and aviation-related industries,” said Mayor John Peyton. “With recent successes, including SAFT America’s commitment to build a battery manufacturing facility here, Cecil has and will continue to be a major asset for the city.”
“It has taken a tremendous amount of hard work over the past decade to develop Cecil Field into a commercial aviation maintenance and repair hub,” said JAA Chairman Ron Weaver. “I am proud of the job the JAA has done. Great strides have been made but the best is yet to come.”
Cecil tenants include The Boeing Company, Flightstar Aircraft Services, Northrop Grumman, CDI, General Dynamics, Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, LSI, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida Army National Guard, Woods Group Pratt & Whitney, L-3 Communications – Titan Group, Department of Homeland Security – U.S. Coast Guard, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville JetPort and Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection.
Today’s celebration wasn’t all about the past. The ceremony ended as Florida State College at Jacksonville and JAA broke ground on an Aircraft Services Educational Facility. The 104,000-square-foot aircraft painting facility will consist of one hangar bay capable of housing an aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 767 and two hangar bays capable of housing a Boeing 757 size aircraft, in addition to shop, office, and other space set aside for the educational component.
The $20 million complex is being funded by JAA and Florida State College at Jacksonville and will provide about 200 new jobs when it opens in the fall of 2010. Flightstar Aircraft Services, a current tenant at Cecil, will operate the facility.
In addition, the JAA is nearing completion of a new 22,500-square-foot aircraft hangar. This hangar will be the third new hangar built at Cecil Field since the JAA took ownership of the facility 10 years ago.