“This is going to bring people from all around the world. This is going to bring businesses to Westchester,” Lauren Rones-Payne, general manager of Million Air at Westchester County Airport, said during a preopening visit by the Business Journal to the company’s new facility.
The 22,000-square-foot building was receiving finishing touches in preparation for its scheduled Feb. 28 grand opening. “It is custom from start to finish, using the finest materials and workmanship and reminiscent of a magnificent lodge,” she said.
The Million Air facility is across the airport from the commercial terminal building used by the airlines and airline passengers. It is designed to fill the needs of general aviation aircraft operators and their passengers, including those booked on charter flights. Aircraft used in general aviation can range from single-engine two-seaters used for pilot training to large jets capable of carrying sports teams across oceans. Other fixed-base operators at Westchester serving that market include Signature Flight Support and Ross Aviation.
The design of the Million Air terminal building is unlike anything ever seen at the airport, incorporating a soaring curved roof, stone walls, six stone-framed fireplaces, wood beam ceilings, custom chandeliers, luxury seating, a coffee bar and enormous windows overlooking the aircraft ramp areas and Million Air’s new 50,400-square-foot corporate jet hangar which was dedicated last summer.
Million Air occupies approximately 26 acres at 136 Tower Road in the southern sector of the airport just east of the FAA control tower. It provides approximately 7.5 acres of paved ramp space to accommodate aircraft that fly in and need a place to park, receive fuel and other services and discharge or board passengers. Numerous general aviation aircraft are based there, either tied down outside or stored in smaller hangars.
While 2018 figures were not immediately available, statistics obtained through the FAA showed that during 2017 Westchester County Airport had 161,146 aircraft operations (takeoffs or landings). There were 269 fixed-wing aircraft and 10 helicopters based at the airport.
Corporate meeting space will be available in Million Air’s terminal, allowing executives to fly in, conduct their business with colleagues from the area at the airport and quickly depart for their next destination. For pilots, there are dedicated spaces for resting, showering, filing flight plans and checking the weather. When the meetings are finished, and flight plans filed, everyone can retreat to a room equipped with a golf course simulator. Passengers arriving at Million Air for a flight won’t have to worry about the outside weather because a 6,865-square-foot indoor valet space has been created to provide a climate-controlled entry.
Roger Woolsey, president and CEO of Million Air, said, “Our job is to be the first and last impression for the Westchester community and greet these market makers. We have taken every consideration into account to make sure all amenities reflect Westchester in a beautiful light.”
The company started in 1984 in Dallas and is headquartered in Houston. It operates FBOs at 25 airports in the U.S. and three in Canada. It also is in: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Cartagena, Colombia; and Beijing. It handles approximately 1 million aircraft movements a year of both civilian and military aircraft. About 2.5 million passengers pass through its buildings. In addition to the FBO operations, the company handles aircraft charters, management and sales.
Million Air marked the formal opening of its new Westchester facility by inviting an estimated 400 guests to a party featuring a concert by guitarist and singer Chris Isaak. They could tour the terminal, enjoy food and beverages, watch professional golfers use the golf course simulator, check a luxury car display and examine aircraft to decide whether they preferred the Cessna Citation jet, Embraer Legacy 500 jet or Bell 429 helicopter.