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Business located at Air Center plans to expand

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Lisa Dunlap Photo General Airframe Support, or GenAir, has plans to expand this hangar at the Roswell Air Center that it built in 2017.

A local aviation-related business has received initial approval for a new land lease to expand its hangar at the Roswell Air Center.

The FIS Co. Inc., an affiliate of General Airframe Support Inc., is asking for a 30-year land lease of about 19,000 square feet starting in July so that GenAir can expand a hangar built about two years ago.

The expansion is part of the company’s plans to extend its operations.

Issac Sheets, whose full name is Frederick Isaac Sheets II, president of GenAir, described a fast-growing operation that has big plans for the future when he talked with members of the Roswell City Council Legal Committee Thursday.

He also said that his company has submitted a letter of intent to the city to build a new “crash pad,” or tear-down pad, at the airfield.

A tear-down pad is a concrete pad, often equipped with electrical power systems, that companies use to tear apart aircraft to salvage parts and scrap the metal. The Air Center plans to remove its existing tear-down pad near the ramp area and is negotiating for private companies to build and operate two new pads at the airfield.

Sheets explained that GenAir, formed in 2013, has moved its headquarters to Roswell.

It originally intended when building the $1.5 million hangar near West Challenger Street to construct one large enough to accommodate today’s commercial aircraft so that it could expand into aircraft maintenance and repair. It currently focuses on reclaiming and restoring aircraft parts and selling them. It will need to obtain a Federal Aviation Administration Part 145 certification to move into repair and maintenance.

In 2017, the hangar project ran over budget and the company had to build a smaller hangar and wait to be able to finance an expansion.

He said the company has now borrowed about $1.6 million to cover the cost of the hangar expansion and the tear-down pad.

Sheets said the company expects to add 16 new employees to the 22 now in Roswell.

“We should be creating quite a few jobs,” he said, adding that he appreciated the long lease term because his company expects to be in business in Roswell a long time.

The new jobs — 10 Airframe and Powerplant mechanics and six inspectors — will pay an average of about $22 an hour. Part of the wages are being paid by the state Job Training Incentive Program.

He said applications for the jobs are being taken now, but new employees probably won’t start work until the hangar is completed later in the year.

A couple of members of the Roswell City Council Legal Committee wondered if the lease amount was too low at $348 a month for the first year. It is due to be increased annually by the greater of 3% a year or a Consumer Price Index measurement.

But Mark Bleth, deputy director of the Air Center, said he considered the amount reasonable for a land lease, as no maintenance or other fees will be required of the city. He added that the Air Center will benefit from the business GenAir generates by receiving landing fees, fuel fees and storage fees.

The Legal Committee voted 3-0 to approve the lease. It is scheduled to be considered June 11 by the Roswell City Council.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.