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Construction begins on new air traffic control tower and spaceport operations center at Cecil Airport
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) has begun construction on a new air traffic control tower and spaceport operations center at Cecil Airport, with completion projected in early 2021.
“The construction of our new control tower and operations center marks an exciting new development as we prepare to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the transition from NAS Cecil Field to Cecil Airport later this year,” said JAA chief executive officer Mark VanLoh. “We look forward to providing an outstanding new facility to serve the industry leaders who operate at Cecil and advance our region’s reputation for world-class aviation and aerospace opportunities.”
With a total cost of $8.9 million, the new tower will be funded by JAA and matching Florida Department of Transportation and Space Florida funding. The contractor, Walbridge Southeast LLC, has begun digging for utilities at the future base of the tower.
The current tower’s view of the airport is partially obstructed by newer hangars, but in the new tower, air traffic controllers will have unimpeded views of all 6,000 acres, including the new Fire Station 63. The current tower will be removed once the new tower is operational.
In addition to the new air traffic control tower, the spaceport operation center and mission control will house telemetry and weather monitoring equipment to support Cecil Spaceport. Cecil Spaceport is the first FAA-licensed horizontal launch commercial spaceport on the East Coast and only the eighth to be licensed in the United States.
JAA plans a commissioning ceremony which will be open to the public near the completion of the project. More details will become available as the ceremony approaches.
Jacksonville Airports Contribute $6 Billion to the Florida Economy
Jacksonville, FL, April 3, 2019 – A new economic impact study by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) found that Jacksonville Aviation Authority’s (JAA) four-airport system contributes more than $6 billion annually to the local economy.
The Florida Statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study measured the benefits of on-airport impacts, visitor spending impacts, and multiplier impacts of Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport (JAXEX), Cecil Airport, and Herlong Recreational Airports.
“As this FDOT study shows, our aviation system is a significant contributor to Northeast Florida’s economy,” said JAA CEO Mark VanLoh. “The expected growth at each of our four airports will continue fueling the region’s financial health.”
The report was prepared as part of the Florida Aviation System Plan’s (FASP) 2018 update and provided the estimated annual economic impact on Florida’s 20 commercial service airports, 100 public-use general aviation airports, and 11 military aviation facilities. A total economic impact of $175 billion dollars is generated annually by aviation in Florida.
Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) generates $3,194,422,000, the highest economic impact of the four airports the JAA operates. It supports 26,396 jobs generating a payroll of close to one billion dollars. The airport also offers educational tours and an internship program through local colleges.
The Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport (JAXEX) created 885 jobs, establishing a payroll of close to $33 million and provides an economic impact of over $100 million. Given its location between downtown Jacksonville and the beach, the airport attracts corporate and business users, and is home to several flight schools.
Cecil Airport provides Northeast Florida with an economic impact of close to $3 billion, over 11,000 jobs and a total payroll of close to $700 million. Cecil Airport is a public joint civil-military airport and spaceport serving military aircraft, corporate aircraft, general aviation, and air cargo.
Herlong Recreational is JAA’s smallest airport but still provides Florida with an economic impact of $52,471,000 and created 379 jobs with a total payroll of over $16 million. This airport has been Northeast Florida’s primary location for light sport aircraft, skydiving, gliders, and other experimental aircraft since the 1960’s. It is home to the Soaring Society Glider Club and supports a private charter company, a flight school, skydiving business, and a maintenance shop.
For more information about the economic impact studies, visit
Space travel coming closer to Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We have been lifting off into the final frontier for years. But soon space travel will be happening here in North Florida.
"When you see these vehicles in the air, you can't tell the difference between them and a regular airplane," said Todd Linder, JAA senior-aviation planning and spaceport development.
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority was just awarded a grant that could eventually bring the latest space craft to Cecil Field.
Only this time you won't need a launch pad, just a runway.
"They take of just like an airplane, fly like an airplane, but they propel with a rocket," said Linder.
JAA Will spend the next six months making sure a space craft called "Concept Y" is safe on the environment before it can be flown here. "This means more jobs, high-paying jobs, high tech jobs coming to the area."
The first space flights out of Cecil Field will probably be to conduct experiments. But JAA says eventually it will be for transportation.
"As we go forward in the future, there will be more competition and the price will come down. And eventually everyone will be able to fly," said Linder
The first flight into space from Cecil Field could happen in the next year. Cecil Field is one of only 12 air spaces approved for space travel in the U.S.
Callahan Timber moving their equipment this week at Cecil Airport
Callahan Timber will be moving their equipment this week to the southwest corner of the field. Callahan Timber will be using gate 10 and 12 to access and haul timber. Gate 10/Old Middleburg Road will be used as a haul route. They will stage logging trailers near gate 10 along the Perimeter road
Click here to view map
Master plan: Cecil Spaceport could grab market share -
Cecil Spaceport stands to garner a significant portion, estimated at up to 10 percent, of the emerging space travel market, according to a Jacksonville Aviation Authority administrator.
Todd Lindner, the authority’s administrator of planning and development, presented the figures Monday to the JAA board as part of a Cecil Spaceport master plan presentation.
The plan originated in April 2011.
According to a plan update, a market share summary study by Futron Corp. for 2021-25 said that nationwide there could be 13,000-25,000 annual space tourists generating revenue of $676 million-$1.26 billion.
Cecil Spaceport could support a 10 percent market share with about 250 annual launches that draw 1,300-2,500 participants and generate revenue of $67.6 million-$126 million to vendors.
In the space tourism industry, orbital flights cost between $20 million to $30 million while suborbital flights are $100,000-$200,000.
Lindner said that Jacksonville and Cecil Spaceport have a projected competitive advantage because of location and proximity to federal spaceports.
Other commercial spaceports in California, Virginia and New Mexico are close to federal spaceports and compete among each other for federal funds and launch approvals, Lindner said.
Cecil Spaceport is the closest to a city that could provide additional amenities for space tourists, he said.
Cecil Spaceport’s only weakness was the lack of an agreement with a vehicle developer. Strengths included the existing infrastructure, tourism potential and the technical workforce.
Among the recommendations are development of a visitor’s center, taxiways, approach roads and the revision of an environmental assessment.
Jax Spaceport becoming a reality
May 23, 2012
With the launch of a privately owned rocket into space earlier this week, the idea of spacecraft launches from Jacksonville is slowly being brought to life.
"I'd love to watch it, certainly come out and watch it," said Doug Hampt, who's excited about a potential spaceport.
Cecil Spaceport, with help from the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, could be the site of that reality.
"Right now we're looking at probably a launch possibly occurring toward the end of 2013 or the early stages of 2014," said Todd Lindner, of JAA.
It may not look like much now, but there are plans for permanent buildings at Cecil Airport on the Westside designed to attract commercial industry heading to outer space.
"They'll be conducting research, conducting experiments, microgravity experiments, also they'll be doing different activities to accommodate the tourism industry," Lindner said.
The thing that makes this spaceport special is the runway. At more than 12,000 feet long, it's the second longest runway in the state.
The runway will offer more than enough room for a horizontal launch. There's a clear vision for what's to come.
"We will extend out the taxiway here right at the approach end of this runway, and it will mirror what's going on on the west side of the airport," said Kelly Dollarhide, of JAA.