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Avflight Corporation

Avflight Detroit City
FBO/Handler (Coleman A. Young Municipal / Detroit)

Detroit (Coleman A. Young) Airport

BAN's World Gazetteer

Michigan

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Avflight breathes new life into Detroit hub
Avflight has provided essential services to the airport's flight operations since moving onto the field in 2011. It has operated on the airfield since then under short-term leases, earning a reputation over the past 13 years.
Enhancements to the Coleman A. Young Municipal airport include a recently completed $350,000 LED taxi lighting upgrade and $3.5 million runway renovation.
Read this story in our July 2024 printed issue.

North American FBO network Avflight, along with the City of Detroit, has announced the first significant initiative in 50 years to rejuvenate Coleman A. Young International airport, marking a new chapter in Detroit's aviation history.

Last year, the city received FAA approval to institute a 20-year airport development and strategy design plan, enabling the airport to apply for federal funding to subsidise infrastructure upgrades. Now, as an integral component of the rejuvenation effort, the city has offered Avflight a 30 year-leasehold, the first such long-term lease in the airport's history.

The long-term lease not only reflects the city's confidence in Avflight as the airport's sole FBO, but also allows the company a path forward to significantly invest in the property. Beginning this summer, Avflight will construct a modern terminal measuring at a minimum3,000 square feet, along with a 15,000square-foot heated hangar next to the existing terminal. The structures will greatly enhance the airport's amenities, services and security, making KDET an enticing option for transient visitors, airport tenants, charter operators and more.

“There is so much potential at the Coleman A. Young International airport, and after several years of hard work, residents and visitors alike will begin to see signs of the enormous change to come as Avflight kicks off construction this summer,” says Detroit's chief operating officer, Brad Dick. “I look forward to a few years from now, when Detroit once again has a truly state-of-the-art airport within our city limits.”

Avflight has provided essential services to the airport's flight operations since moving onto the field in 2011. It has operated on the airfield since then under short-term leases, earning a reputation over the past 13 years for safely providing care to aircraft, pilots and passengers. Avflight also aids the city in providing maintenance for the airport's infrastructure. In doing so, the company has and continues to greatly assist the city in preserving the operational integrity of the airport.

“We're proud of our operation at KDET,” said Avflight's vice president of operations, Joe Meszaros. “We've always seen the value in preserving Coleman A. Young International airport's operations and have worked hard the last decade and a half to not only keep it operational, but also make it a successful enterprise, one that supports the city's economy by serving as a gateway to Detroit business and as an employer of Detroit's citizens.”

Other enhancements to the Coleman A. Young Municipal airport include a recently completed $350,000 LED taxi lighting upgrade and $3.5 million runway renovation. Upcoming projects include a $1.2 million ramp pavement improvement project and $8.1 million engineered material arresting system.

Further city-planned initiatives include constructing a new control tower with the FAA beginning in 2026, an airport beautification initiative, upgraded snow removal equipment and establishing educational and community organisations at the airport to promote and host educational opportunities for Detroit citizens. In time, proponents hope the airport revitalisation project provides a pathway to move the Davis Aerospace Technical High School back to the airfield.

“We couldn't be more excited to finally bring this project to fruition,” says Meszaros. “With its location near the city's business district and close to many automotive companies and suppliers, our new terminal will provide a shining beacon to welcome commerce to Detroit. It will be a facility citizens can be proud of and one that will support many livelihoods as we look to double our staff with an increase in traffic, expand our service offerings and provide greater educational opportunities on the airfield. With the city and Avflight's investments, we're making significant strides to revitalise Coleman A. Young International airport, carrying the city into a new generation of aviation.”

Avflight's multi-million dollar complex is a long-anticipated investment for the company. The FBO has successfully executed many such projects with long leaseholds throughout its 26-location network across North America and Europe, including newly constructed FBOs and hangars at Michigan's Traverse City (KTVC), Grand Rapids (KGRR) and Willow Run (KYIP) airports.

“This transformative partnership with Avflight marks a pivotal moment in KDET's history,” states Jason Watt, director of Coleman A. Young Municipal airport. “With a shared vision for innovation and excellence, we are poised to elevate KDET as a premier aviation hub, driving economic growth and opportunity for the City of Detroit and our region.”

The Coleman A. Young International airport has long been an important transportation hub for the region. It supports a wealth of public services for Detroit citizens, including certified aircraft rescue firefighting (ARFF), Civil Air Patrol and the Detroit Police Department's aviation unit. It also supports Detroit's economy by facilitating business travel and promoting tourism with tenants like MyFlight Tours Detroit.

In addition, the airport is a hub for sustainable innovations. KDET is home to Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX), which develops next-generation electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The company has built more than 55 eVTOL aircraft for defence, emergency response and other sectors. ASX now sets its sight on large-scale eVTOL aircraft to commercialise electric aircraft, which produce low to no emissions, for public use.

Avflight shares the commitment of City of Detroit Mayor Duggan's administration to sustainable causes, with vast experience in installing electric charging stations for aircraft, ground equipment and personal vehicles within its FBO network, as well as experience procuring and handling sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), opening the door to further sustainable opportunities for the airport.

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