COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M University officials have finalized an extensive, multi-year contract with Astin Limited to manage all operations and services at Easterwood Airport, effective June 1, 2014. Officials anticipate that most airport employees will transition to the new College Station-based management company.
“I congratulate Dr. Hussey in getting this important agreement executed. In order to maintain our momentum as a world-class university, Texas A&M needs a first-rate airport that encourages travel to and from College Station. It will assist in recruitment of new companies to the area and in executive travel from this area to all regions of the country. We hope to also enjoy improved service supporting the numerous SEC events, here and throughout the southeast,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp.
The impetus for this change initiated during the original discussions regarding outsourcing with Compass in 2012. An advisory committee comprised of university and A&M system representatives recommended that Astin manage Easterwood Airport operations following an extensive review process. The unanimous selection was delivered to Dr. Loftin in May of 2013, but final execution was delayed.
“We are excited about our new partnership with Astin Limited and are confident it will result in enhanced and more efficient service for the thousands of air travelers to and from the Bryan-College Station community,” said Texas A&M University Interim President Mark A. Hussey.
As part of the 10-year agreement to manage the state’s only university-owned commercial airport, Astin Limited has agreed to invest $7 million in capital improvements, which could include general aesthetic improvements to the McKenzie Terminal, upgrades/renovations to the general aviation terminal, the addition of a multi-purpose hangar and upgrades to the T-hangars at the airport.
“Our long history of community investment with Texas A&M, Bryan and College Station forms the backbone of our new commitment to Easterwood Airport,” said Astin CEO John Clanton. “We look forward to enhancing community air service options and corporate aviation capabilities for years to come.”
Astin will provide ground crew services, airport security systems, sale and in-plane delivery of fuel and other aviation products, airport user accommodations and ramp services. The company is also approved to provide flight services such as aerial photography, new and used aircraft sales, flight training, aircraft repair and maintenance and charter operations.
While Texas A&M University will still provide oversight and strategic direction for the airport as required by the FAA, the operational management of the airport by Astin Limited will allow the school to focus more on its core competencies as a public, land grant institution of higher education.