Airport notes: DRBA lands aviation company in Millville; Companies eye New Castle Airport; JDPower report not kind to BWI, Philly


One of the missions of the Delaware River and Bay Authority is economic development.

Last week, the DBRA announced it landed Jet East, which will operate maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility at the Millville Executive Airport in southern New Jersey.

Jet East will lease the airport’s two most modern aviation hangars.

“Jet East is a global leader in aviation maintenance and repair services and the DRBA is pleased to welcome them to the Millville Executive Airport,” said DRBA  Chairman James  Hogan.  “Over the past 20 years, the DRBA has invested more than $50 million to enhance the airport’s infrastructure, laying the foundation for manufacturing businesses like Jet East to ramp up and take flight here.”

When fully operational, the new unit will perform maintenance work on up to 15 aircraft and employing approximately 250.

Companies express interest in running  New Castle Airport

The DRBA’s flagship airport is  Wilmington-New Castle Airport (ILG) which is leased from New Castle County.

Having the agency run the airport makes sense since management is in place to operate the airport.  Additionally, some equipment and staff can be shared with the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

However, the county appointed a study group that recommended that it take proposals for new operators when the lease expires in 2025.

Some claimed the Delaware-New Jersey, airport, ferry, and bridge operator did not do enough to develop the economic potential of the site and instead focuses on its aviation properties in South Jersey.

That claim has been firmly denied by the DRBA, which at least initially said it will not submit a proposal for post-2025 operations. 

Last week, WDEL reported five companies have asked for more information on operating the airport. None of this means any will submit bids but does show a degree of interest.

New Castle is now handling three flights a week for Frontier Airlines to Orlando.

A new terminal might attract another airline if growth resumes in the industry that is still struggling to recover from the pandemic.

The DRBA. has done renovation work on the current terminal which still has the look and field of an airport l on an out-of-the-way Caribbean island.

Frontier is making good on its vow to not quickly exit the New Castle Airport this time around after having done so in the previous decade.

Still, Frontier has not added flights since its debut earlier This year.  Its focus remains on Philadelphia where it has service to a couple of dozen cities, typically, a few times a week.

Going into the winter, Frontier will go down to two-day-a-week nonstop service to Orlando in November and December but will go back to three days in January.

JD Power report not kind to Philly, Baltimore

Philadelphia International Airport and Baltimore Wahington Thurgood Marshall International Airport have some work to do on the customer satisfaction front.

The JDPower  2021 North America Airport Satisfaction Study ranked Philadelphia International at the bottom and BWI third from the bottom among large airports.

Louis Armstrong in New Orleans ranked first, with Tampa second. Armstrong built an entirely new terminal, the first such project in decades. Other airports have added on or remodeled existing space.

Miami International Airport ranks highest among mega airports with JFK in New York City coming in second after a major makeover.

Customer satisfaction scores were lower this time around as airport facilities face labor shortages in the food and beverage area. Ongoing construction projects are another factor.

Philly and BWI have advantages that might not make their way to the customer report, including convenient locations within their metro areas.

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