The path has been cleared for two companies to begin...

The path has been cleared for two companies to begin a major renovation at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton. Credit: John Roca

Two companies have the go-ahead for projects at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach aimed at modernizing the facility and bringing it millions in investment dollars, according to Suffolk County legislators and officials.

The Suffolk Legislature recently approved two contracts that county officials say follow through on the airport’s master land use plan for aviation development at the airport.

One agreement is with True North, a Westhampton Beach-based company, which will allow them to develop 10 individual hangars for small aircraft on three acres of airport property. The second is a 30-year lease agreement with Sunrise Jets Maintenance LLC, an aircraft management and charter flight operator in Westhampton Beach. The agreement lets the company use roughly 14 acres at the airport to construct a building for Fixed Base Operations, typically a private business providing aviation services at an airport.

The Sunrise Jets project will also include construction of aircraft ramp space, hangars and a fuel farm, according to a Suffolk County spokesperson.

Joshua Smith, the airport manager for Gabreski Airport, told the legislature at their March 29 meeting — where legislators approved the agreements — that the Sunrise Jets deal, in particular, represented a total of between $25 million and $30 million of investment in the airport. 

The additional ramp space, Smith said, would be “a benefit to the airport and community since we have been filling up the ramp in recent years due to increased use.”

Suffolk County awarded Sunrise Jets a contract in 2015 for their current project. The matter was tied up in litigation for several years after a company that also submitted a proposal was turned down and sued the county. The litigation was later dropped in 2019, which allowed the project to move forward, Smith told the legislature.

Meanwhile, the True North hangar development will consist of two buildings of five hangars each to be located between two existing hangar facilities on the north side of the airport property, according to a county spokesperson.

Sunrise Jets and True North representatives did not immediately return requests for comment.

Suffolk County Legis. Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac) told Newsday that both projects were previously scrutinized by several airport-related committees, including the Airport Conservation and Assessment Committee, for environmental concerns and traffic impacts. After “extensive reports” which both applicants presented, Fleming said the committees determined that neither project would lead to a significant impact on traffic or have detrimental environmental consequences.

“The question that I think everyone wants to know is ‘Is it going to increase traffic? Is it going to increase noise?’ and that was something that was carefully looked at by these various regulatory agencies,” Fleming said, adding that both projects would eventually “modernize the airport, create new full-time jobs and at the same time, you’re not going to see a significant increase in air traffic.”

With the deals now approved, the next step is coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Suffolk County Buildings Department for construction permits and safety plans, according to a county spokesperson, with construction site work potentially starting by the end of the year.

Modernizing Gabreski Airport

  • True North will be construct 10 hangars in two buildings, each housing five units. The square footage of the two buildings is 16,000 square feet and 12,740 square feet and there will be five units at 3,200 square feet and five at 2,500 square feet, according to a Suffolk County spokesperson.
  • The Sunrise Jets project will involve the construction of two large hangars at 35,200 square feet each, one Fixed Base Operations (FBO) office building at 5,040 square feet, 278,000 square feet of aircraft ramp space, and a fuel farm on approximately 14 acres of property at the airport.
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