FBO Services to Transition to MidGa Regional Airport

Staff Report

Thursday, May 25th, 2023

Macon-Bibb County is currently in final negotiations for the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) to transition from Lowe Aviation to the Middle Georgia Regional Airport. FBOs provide a variety of services to pilots and planes, include fueling, hangaring, and ground transportation. Henry Lowe will still maintain his charter business.

With the additions of new industries, the coming extension of the runway, steady passenger service, and more, it was determined that significant operational efficiencies can be obtained under County management. This transition will also mean the County will build a brand new FBO executive terminal to welcome people to our community and provide pilots and planes with the latest in technology and support services. Currently, the county is not the first point of contact for many the of users of the airfield, thus limiting direct involvement with potential development and growth.

“The Lowe family has done a tremendous job here at the airport for more than 76 years, and I want to thank them for their service to the air service community and to Macon-Bibb,” says Mayor Lester Miller. “Now, though, we all realized and agreed that, in order for the airport to continue to grow and improve, this change would put us on a better direction.”

“With the Airport managing all operational aspects, we can better coordinate current logistics, plan for future improvements, manage projects both big and small, and be involved with every plane, pilot, and passenger that takes off and lands here,” says Airport Director Doug Faour. “I want to thank Henry, his family, and his team for working with us all of these years, and for help he offered to so many people along the way.”

The transition will begin 60 days after the formal agreement is inked and will include getting the current employees hired by Macon-Bibb County. That includes salaries & benefits, identification cards, orientation, purchasing uniforms, determining IT needs (connection to the network, computers, cell phones, website information, etc.), determining security needs (lock and access systems, connecting to security cameras, etc.), and more. This transition could take anywhere from 90-180 days based on the needs.

Macon-Bibb County, including its Human Resources Department, is meeting with current Lowe Aviation employees to let them know the transition plan. Human Resources working with them individually to help hire them as Macon-Bibb employees, and to make it as smooth a transition as possible.

“We want them to know their knowledge, expertise, and skills are valued and still needed here at the Airport, and we want them to be part of our exciting future,” adds Faour. “It’s our goal to have them all become part of our team and continue providing great service to planes of all sizes here at Middle Georgia Regional Airport.”

“Things are really taking off at our Airport, and this is a chance to grow our team here and make better plans for our future,” adds Mayor Miller. “This is an exciting time for economic development in Macon-Bibb, and we’re going to make every effort to take it to new heights.”

In January 2023, Macon-Bibb, the Airport, and many partners broke ground on the runway extension, a project that has been needed for many years.

“This extension will provide so much opportunity for the growth at our airport and will make it more convenient for our current tenants,” said Mayor Lester Miller. “This is a project that has been in the works for many years, and we are thrilled that it is finally happening.”

The first phase of the project will be the construction of a retaining wall near the approach end of Runway 5, which is in the southwest corner of airport property near Sardis Church Road. The estimated cost for the first phase is approximately $2 million and it’s being funded partially from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Highway Division.

The second phase of construction is the actual extension of the runway and the installation of an Engineered Materials Arresting System (EMAS). The extension should be completed in late 2024 or early 2025.