POCATELLO — A full-service, fixed-base operator and premium jet aircraft charter is expanding its operations at the Pocatello Regional Airport.
Following recent approval from the Pocatello City Council, AvCenter Inc. has plans to increase its lease at the airport by about 50,000 square feet in order to construct a nearly 30,000-square-foot hangar and additional office space.
“We have worked hard to be the best first impression for many folks that have been flying privately into Pocatello for the last 40 years,” said Melvin Wagoner, co-owner and director of operations for AvCenter Inc. “We have a team of about 50 really great employees that make it all happen and the hope is with this additional space is that we will be able to attract aircraft from say Sun Valley and Jackson Hole.”
Wagoner said that in the winter months, hangar space is at a premium and sometimes unavailable, so having this space will allow AvCenter Inc. to expand its operations and allow them to accommodate aircraft that they are unable to do so currently.
AvCenter Inc. has been operating at the Pocatello Regional Airport since 1979. In addition to providing state-of-the-art privately chartered flights in and out of Pocatello, the fixed-base operator provides fueling and maintenance for the commercial planes flying in and out of the Gate City and various flight instructions.
In addition to providing fuel for its own aircraft, AvCenter Inc. also provides fuel for government fire bombers, corporate and private aircraft, and commercial flights.
“One of the services that we provide is that we are an authorized Federal Aviation Administration written testing center,” Wagoner said. “We can administer the FAA written exams for all categories of pilot ratings.”
AvCenter Inc. also owns a fleet of aircraft, including three private jets and two turboprops that are used for its private charter service and are considering adding additional planes to their arsenal.
“We cover the continental United States as well as Canada and Alaska,” Wagoner said. “Our primary clientele base is either high net worth individuals or businesses where time is a crucial element for them. It’s typically a much larger invoice than a commercial airline ticket.”
AvCenter has an air carrier certificate issued by the FAA and operates under the set of regulations for on-demand charters as opposed to scheduled airlines.
Wagoner is hopeful that a new hangar will allow AvCenter to attract some of that business out of the resort areas and with that extra business comes additional fuel sales as well.
“For decades, we have worked to build a clientele base and provide a service to the community,” Wagoner said. “As jet engines have become more efficient the aircraft have longer ranges and they don’t have to make intermediate fuel stops that they had to make before the private jet industry started in the ’60s and ’70s. They have to have a reason to come here and we think a brand new hangar could get them in the door.”