News & Views
2020 Airport Business Project of the Year: The Braniff Centre
The modern terminal building was designed using inspiration from other mid-century buildings and décor found throughout Dallas. Read original story on AviationPros.com >
Location: TAC Air, Dallas Love Field (DAL)
Project: Braniff Centre Restoration
Cost: $100 Million Master Plan Investment
Key Participants: Blue Star Land, Lincoln Property Co., Burns & McDonnell, The Gravity Company
The Braniff Centre reconstruction was executed as a historic restoration of the original Braniff Airlines Operations and Maintenance Base. The $100 million master-plan expansion transformed an aviation icon to a modern general aviation facility over a 19-month time frame, now serving the aviation and local community in one reinvented destination at Dallas Love Field (DAL).
“TAC Air - DAL at the Braniff Centre was a long sought after project by TAC - The Arnold Companies to find a home on Dallas Love Field and have a presence in our home market. The location of the original Braniff International Airways Operations and Maintenance Base provided an ideal location on the east side of the field at Lovers Lane and Lemmon Avenue, offering a way to make the facility more than just another row of hangars lining the street,” said Joe Gibney, chief operating officer, TAC Air. “As a key location on the neighborhood street, the retail opportunities combined with the aviation impact, made the project special. Working with the Texas Historical Commission to honor the site of Braniff Headquarters and the architecture of the mid-century that helped define the city of Dallas made it more special.”
The expansion and redevelopment led by TAC Air was made possible with the commitment of the city of Dallas. As Dallas Love Field is reborn through ongoing development projects, the Braniff Centre restoration and expansion restored a portion of the airfield to the early spirit of aviation and the modern jet-setter lifestyle as defined by Braniff International Airways in the late 1950s.
“Dallas Love Field is the second largest general aviation airport in the country, which made this a prime real estate opportunity,” said Casey Park, director of investments for TAC - The Arnold Companies. “We knew the Braniff Centre was a project TAC Air wanted to bring to life. With our partners including the Dallas Cowboys, Blue Star Land a Jones Family company, Lincoln Property company and the support from Randall Reed and the Planet Lincoln auto dealership, 7701 Lemmon Avenue is once again the center of aviation on the east side of Love Field,”
The building was transformed into more than 200,000 square feet of high-quality hangar space and prime aviation support services.
Park said the specific site plan presented a unique opportunity to recreate a space with an aviation history. It sat vacant for many years and required extensive rehabilitation from its glory days to compliant building codes of the twenty first century.
“The opportunity seen by TAC Air was to provide the nation’s first mixed-use facility that combines retail - restaurant and storefront- office space, a car dealership and an FBO – all in one site,” he said.
TAC worked in partnership with the Texas Historical Commission to protect the integrity of the architecture. It maintained what was there, and because of that, Park said they wound up with something far more iconic than it would have been if they had started from the ground-up.
“Our commitment to take the historical site, clean it up and keep the past a part of the future of Love Field has made this project special for us and the city of Dallas,” he said.
The TAC Air FBO facility features a group of amenities including controlled access to private hangars and an executive terminal; convenient access to elevated catering through The Star Skyline, an exclusive event center managed by Legends Hospitality of AT&T Stadium in Arlington and Yankee Stadium in New York; on-site dry cleaning; auto detailing; local event and venue reservations; auto-to-aircraft valet and secured personal access to retail facilities.
Gibney said they brought the core team from within the TAC Air network and filled the remaining roles with local talent that know and understand the Dallas market. The teams were sent out ahead of opening to train within the TAC Air system with the other FBO locations.
“Upon opening, those same FBOs sent experts from their teams to support the Dallas team and help provide great service expected by our customers,” he said.
Keeping the original cutting edge building design of William Pereira and Charles Luckman that embodied the spirit of flight in the inverted butterfly roof architecture, The Gravity Company and Burns & McDonnell designed the restoration to meet guidelines and preservation requirements of the Texas Historic Commission to keep the building an aviation landmark of Dallas.
Tad W Perryman, vice president, marketing for TAC, said to honor the restoration of the mid-century architecture and harken back to the elegant days of aviation embodied by Braniff Airways, the modern terminal building was designed using inspiration from other mid-century buildings and décor found throughout Dallas. These include the white marble and light walnut rift sawn columns, the glass-topped marble front counter and the use of stainless accents to minimize the design and celebrate the space and location overlooking Love Field.
“In the lobby, a 1/5 scale replica of the Boeing 727-227 N457BN flown by Braniff Airways hangs above, decorating the ceiling space with the livery in mercury blue and adorned with the Dallas Cowboys name and silver helmet featuring the Blue Star,” he said.
Construction has started on a phase two of the project, which will bring a 40,000 square foot hangar and office space to the south side of the Braniff Centre leasehold in fall 2020. Creating an FBO that provides class and modern amenities for businesses and the ones who run them, while still emphasizing the pleasure side of travel, is part of the true reinvention of The Braniff Centre.
Listen & Learn More About The Project
TAC Air Chief Operating Officer Joe Gibney shares insights of the Braniff Centre reconstruction that was named one of the 2020 Airport Business Projects of the Year on a recent episode of the AviationPros Podcast.
TAC Air Promotes New General Manager To Fort Smith FBO
Six-year TAC Air associate, Christina Lang, promoted to lead TAC Air - FSM
TAC Air has promoted Christina Lang to lead its fixed base operation (FBO) in Fort Smith, Arkansas as General Manager (GM). A six-year veteran of TAC Air, Lang is prepared to join the team at TAC Air - FSM as a hands-on manager of the business using her background in administration and operations. Lang officially stepped into this role the last week of May and as she expressed is, “excited for the opportunity to become a part of the Fort Smith team and support the TAC Air commitment to providing customers and tenants SERVICE WITH NO CEILING.” As GM, Lang’s key responsibilities involve overseeing day-to-day operations, hangar management and leasing while maintaining relationships with TAC Air customers and the Fort Smith Regional Airport.
Lang relocated to Fort Smith from Dallas, where she served three years in a system-wide role for TAC Air as Manager of Administrative Services. “The past three years I have been able to experience and learn firsthand from 15 different GMs and CSMs running FBOs in the TAC Air system to help me prepare for this hands-on type of position in a market I can help nurture and grow,” said Lang.
Prior, Lang worked as Customer Service Manager (CSM) at TAC Air - RDU in Raleigh-Durham, NC and Customer Service Representative at TAC Air - PVU in Provo, UT. She charted her course in aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ, where she studied Aeronautical Science. Lang completed her commercial pilot certificate and worked as a corporate pilot flying mining executives in Arizona and New Mexico.
Lang’s first encounter with TAC Air occurred at the 2014 National Business Aviation Association, Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Las Vegas. There, she met TAC Air - SLC GM, Mike McCarty who invited Lang to visit the FBO for a tour when she returned home to Salt Lake City. Upon visiting, Lang says, “Once I visited, I knew I wanted to work for TAC Air. And I got the opportunity, starting at the TAC Air FBO in Provo.”
Director of FBO Administrative Services for the TAC Air system and past GM of TAC Air - FSM, Carol McNally, shared, “I am thrilled to see a strong female associate like Christina rise to the General Manager position within our organization. As more women ascend to a place of leadership in aviation, I look forward to watching her soar. I am pleased to hand the controls of the Fort Smith FBO operation to another strong female aviator.”
“Working her way up by successfully mastering several roles within the FBO, Lang’s extensive knowledge, industry and internal company experience, along with her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn make her an ideal leader to take the business at TAC Air - FSM FBO to new heights,” stated Joe Gibney, Chief Operating Officer of TAC Air.
As General Manager, Lang looks forward to demonstrating the company’s strong commitment to safety as an IS-BAH Stage 2 registered FBO, while also overseeing daily procedures at TAC Air - FSM. “The Fort Smith team has been working together seamlessly for years under excellent leadership. It will be an adjustment for everyone to have a new leader,” she added. Lang is known among the associates, as she worked with the team in her previous role as Manager of Administrative Services for TAC Air. Lang is thrilled to have a collaborative, capable team to work beside every day. She is committed to developing connections within the TAC Air - FSM team, across the base tenants and customers as well as strengthening the FBO’s existing airport relations.
Pandemic Prompts Big Changes for Business Aviation
May 13, 2020, 4:25 PM
This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
The aviation world has changed considerably as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing business aircraft operators and flight departments to question common practices and what were, until just a few months ago, considered certainties in the industry.
Decreasing passenger loads and varying regulatory demands have contributed to a worldwide decline in flights in all aviation sectors, but for those business aviation operators still flying or about to resume operations, “there is no such thing as a routine trip anymore,” said Adam Hartley, manager of global regulatory services with Universal Weather and Aviation. “If you are an operation that would normally require a permit, those requirements have certainly changed, with a lot more information requested about travel history and health declarations, and I don’t think those things are going to be going away anytime soon.”
Hartley suggests that flight department operators begin capturing 14-day crew and passenger history for everyone expected to participate in a flight. “That’s not something that has been a common- or even uncommon-type request or practice, but certainly something that is a best practice now, so it’s not just where did everybody travel on the airplane, but even in their personal travels.”
That extends to charter flights as well, according to Daniel Govatos, director of operations for charter provider Keystone Aviation. “We ordinarily would not be asking people details about their past travel and details about their health," he said. "But bringing to their attention that we sincerely want to protect both them and our crews, it has gone over very well. I believe that people are understanding a lot more, that they will need to be as honest with us as possible.”
Flight operations have begun instituting other safety measures. Some require temperature screenings before passengers and crew are allowed to board the aircraft, although questions such as what temperature threshold should be used to disqualify people remain, like most recent sanitary advice, up to individual company discretion. Given the fact that some infected people can remain fever-free or have just a low-grade increase in temperature, that screening is far from a foolproof indicator.
“These are unsettling times, and with that comes new procedures for both crew and passengers,” said Kimberly Mazzeo, chief flight attendant for an international flight department. “Some of these may seem somewhat of an invasion of privacy to our passengers, and we need to be sensitive to that.” She recommends taking temperatures in a more secluded location and other current practices such as mandating the crew to wear masks and gloves and reducing their interaction in the cabin. It is also a good idea to equip each aircraft with a sanitization kit, provide personal protective equipment to passengers and instruct them on its use as well as proper disposal, limit the seating capacity on the aircraft to provide some personal separation, and pair crew members and maintenance teams to minimize contact and possible transmission as well as simplify contact tracking in case of infection.
According to a recent U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 20009, after each cockpit crew change, it is recommended to clean and disinfect surfaces in the flight deck that are frequently touched and utilized by cockpit crew members, such as yoke, throttles, autopilots, and radios, and to use products that are effective against Covid-19, compatible with aircraft, and approved by the aircraft manufacturer for use onboard the aircraft.
Last month NetJets announced it would provide antibody testing to all of its employees, dispatching a quartet of its Global 6000s to Shanghai to pick up a half a million Covid-19 antibody tests approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “We are committed to testing 100 percent of our crew members initially and offering ongoing testing to anyone who travels to high-risk locations, has been exposed to Covid-19, or becomes symptomatic,” said Patrick Gallagher, the operator’s president of sales, marketing, and service.
As well there has been a proliferation of companies offering aircraft and facility disinfection services using a variety of methods.
A NEW WORLD
As operators slowly resume international flights, new potential problems need to be considered, according to Charlie LeBlanc, v-p of United Healthcare Global’s medical assistance and security division, and a member of NBAA’s security council. Speaking during a recent NBAA webinar on aviation security issues in the Covid-19 era, he noted that countries have developed varying responses to the pandemic. “One of the biggest concerns that I see as we open up the world again and start traveling globally is countries now have figured out that flipping a switch and closing their borders is a relatively simple act.”
He pointed to several recent examples during the crisis, where countries ordered their borders and airspace sealed after outbreaks, in some cases giving as little as six hours notice. He added that understanding that past behavior is now an important factor in mission planning. “If a country has shown that they close their airspace down with very little notice, it becomes even more imperative that crews and passengers are at the ready to leave in a very quick amount of time,” he said.
Going forward, international flight crews might encounter a “clean corridor” system comprising a clean crew, clean aircraft, and clean airports and hotels,” Dr. Paulo Avles, MedAire’s global director of aviation health told AIN. “China, for example, is already publishing guidelines on that regard creating procedures to be followed for crews arriving in that country. They are designating specific hotels around the airports to be utilized by crews in layover and requiring the need for testing for virus for those subsequently connecting domestically.” He is hopeful that a vaccine will be developed along with the establishment of a ‘health passport’ to allow for the free movement of passengers and crews.
Even for domestic flights, things can change rapidly from state to state, according to Universal’s Hartley, and accurate, timely information from the destination is key from the flight planning perspective. “Start the process earlier, forget what you knew for sure about locations, and take them on a case-by-case way right now until we can start to build back to a level of consistency,” he said. He advises operators to get that vital information, including any current local health regulations, from someone with a “boots-on-the-ground” view such as the destination FBO. He warned that familiar hotels, rental cars, or restaurants could be in short supply. “The availability of those things is something that shouldn’t be counted on today or thinking that all those services are going to be open and available without extra confirmation ahead of time."
During this period, to avoid being caught in local restrictions, Universal advises that crews leave the destination airport only if necessary, and many companies are advising their crews to pack food from home. Indeed, to protect their health, the U.S. DoT SAFO 20009 advises air carrier crews to stay at home or in their hotel rooms (as applicable) to the extent possible, eat in their hotel room during layovers with either room service or delivery service, or if in-room food delivery options are not available, get take-out from hotel restaurant or another restaurant nearby. Several industry caterers are now offering to deliver meals to destination airports for crews to take to their hotels for consumption.
For flights requiring catering, ordering from a local restaurant may now be questionable, as they might not operate to the same standards of hygiene practiced by dedicated in-flight kitchens, which have further stepped up their sanitary regimens from what were already stringent standards.
In an effort to avoid the need for overnights, some flight departments have changed their schedules, requesting their employees depart earlier in the day to accomplish their missions so the aircraft can return to home base. Failing that, they will relocate the aircraft and crew to areas of less infection.
ON THE GROUND
NATA issued a document containing guidance for FBOs and ground handlers in late March including advice that disinfectant/antiseptic solutions should be applied hourly to high-risk, high-traffic areas and items. “FBOs are a funnel point between the outside world and the flight line,” said LeBlanc, noting some flight departments have begun to inquire what sanitary measures service providers are undertaking, before engaging their services. Other measures imposed at some locations include segregating customers by flight within the terminal and even requesting customers to stagger departure times to minimize contact between waiting groups.
As for ordering ground transportation, “ask them a simple question, what are your cleaning guidelines for your vehicles?” said LeBlanc. “If there is a lot of pausing and hesitation, that probably means they’re not doing much and probably making it up as they as they go along,” he told the webinar audience. “We’ve talked a lot about protecting our passengers and crews [but] all that goes out the window if we put them in a vehicle that has not been properly cleaned, at least to the best of expectations. Some companies such as Keystone Aviation have attempted to avoid chauffeur-driven or rideshare situations entirely, according to Govatos, who said his company has been relying more on rental cars, even for passengers.
Greg Kulis, a member of NBAA’s security council as well as a lead captain and security coordinator for an international flight department, said that when weighing the level of safety precautions companies are taking during this time, versus the possible inconvenience and alarm to customers and passengers who many already be anxious, "We’re here to provide the safest, most effective transportation in the world, so given that mission statement, I would much rather explain why we are taking a certain precaution, than why we are not taking a certain precaution. I think most times that will answer the question.”
LESS STAFF, INCREASED VIGILANCE
With many flight operations furloughing staff and otherwise reducing on-site presence due to work-at-home protocols, “It’s apparent that we need to evaluate our safety and security protocols to ensure the current circumstances are considered,” Kulis said during the webinar, noting that companies must reevaluate their access procedures. “It’s essential for every aircraft operator to know who is in the facility and when they are there.”
“We’re operating with reduced staffing, reduced activity, and therefore being vigilant about our surroundings, our facilities, our airport areas. You just don’t have as many eyes on what’s normal,” added Eric Moilanen, president of Premier Corporate Security and chair of NBAA’s security council during the webinar. He added that what would have been considered normal just a few months ago has been turned upside down. “If someone used to come to the front door with a hat, sunglasses, and a mask over their face, it was generally time to hit the panic button and call the police. Now we look at it as an everyday occurrence, and in fact, we are mandating it in some places.”
Another aspect of the mass layoffs the industry has endured is the potential threat arising from disgruntled employees. While companies may have human resource procedures in place for the termination of one or two employees, many are experiencing unprecedented workforce reductions during this time. Employers are not obligated to discuss why a worker has been dismissed or company financial status, but Moilanen advises more transparency at this time, particularly with people the company might bring back when conditions improve.
Keystone Aviation Announces J. Dan Govatos As New Operations Director Over U.S. Based Private Jet Charter And Aircraft Management
Keystone Aviation announces the addition of industry veteran J. Dan Govatos to the Director of Operations position based in Salt Lake City.
May 5th, 2020
Keystone Aviation announced the addition of industry veteran J. Dan Govatos to the director of operations position based in Salt Lake City. Govatos will provide enhanced focus of aircraft operations, safety and training while strengthening aviation industry best practices and relationships.
Aaron Fish, Chief Operating Officer of Keystone Aviation, commented, "Dan brings years of strategic development experience to the leadership team and will help keep Keystone Aviation the leading aircraft charter, management and maintenance provider based in Utah.
As a pilot for over 30 years including time as Captain on Airbus, Boeing, Falcon, Gulfstream among many other aircraft types in both airline and corporate flight operations, Govatos brings experience of past positions including Director of Operations, Director of Safety, Director of Training under FAR parts 121 and 135 and Chief Pilot. He holds an FAA Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic/Engineer certificate and is Six Sigma Green Belt certified. A graduate of Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, Govatos holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Aviation/Airway Management and Operations.
"I look forward to working with the highly qualified team and have started by focusing on modernizing operations and procedures to meet today's customer requests in order to provide the best experience possible. Keystone Aviation is working on scalable solutions to meet the growing demand for private jet charter and aircraft management," said Govatos.
As private jet charter and management expands to meet market needs for personalized, flexible and safe travel for individuals and corporations, Keystone Aviation is positioned to deliver the highest level of service across every aspect of consideration when it comes to chartering, maintaining and operating aircraft.
From Flying Circus to FBO, Wing Walking Is A True Talent
Originating as a daredevil stunt in the aerial barnstorming shows of the 1920s, wing walking was the act of moving along the wings of a biplane during flight. As the art became more common, these circus performers of the sky would attempt more difficult stunts: handstands, hanging by one's teeth and transferring from one aircraft to another. The Wing Walkers of old would admit (or rather proclaim proudly) that the point of their trade was to make money on the audience's prospect of possibly watching someone die.
Wing Walkers of old
The idea of risk and safety is all relative, but from the view of today’s FBOs, Wing Walkers are fundamental to help reduce the risk of putting an aircraft wing in the wrong place while towing, potentially causing damage to the aircraft. While this act is not fatal to the modern day Wing Walker per se, it can still be a hair-raising experience if a wing or any other part of the aircraft comes too close to a hangar door, wall or another aircraft. The skill that is required when hangar stacking means Wing Walkers will always play an important role in the life of an airplane’s significant feature: the wing. This is why TAC Air Wing Walkers follow proper safety procedures.
At all 15 TAC Air FBOs, towing aircraft safely is one of the most critical operations Line Service Team Members learn; it requires close concentration and must be approached with precision.
Steven Ryberg, General Manager, TAC Air-SHV demonstrates Wing Walking hand signals.
A typical towing operation only lasts a few minutes. However, if there is a need to empty an entire hangar and restack it, this process could take several hours, depending on the number of aircraft involved.
When moving an aircraft in/out of a hangar, TAC Air safety requirements necessitate three Line Service Technicians to participate in the process. One person operates the tow vehicle with two or more people serving as Wing Walkers on the ground placed at each wing tip.
It is important for Wing Walkers to maintain close visual communication with the tug operator at all times during aircraft repositioning. In addition, they use hand signals to communicate clearances between the aircraft under tow and nearby obstacles.
"The use of hand signals during a towing operation should be used as guidance to provide the tug operator a visual reference of appropriate clearances by displaying hands apart to represent the area of clearance,” explains Bob Schick, TAC Air Director of Safety and Risk Management.
“When an aircraft is nearing the three foot safety window, the Wing Walker must use their whistle to signal to terminate the tow operation. If, at any time, the Wing Walker is uncomfortable with the position or speed of the aircraft, the operation should be stopped with the blow of a whistle.”
Over time, wing walking has evolved from a daredevil stunt performance to a necessary act of safety to ensure aircraft are not damaged.
Old Braniff terminal takes off as a new mixed-use project
The former airline operations base at Love Field is open for business after years of sitting vacant.
Braniff Airways’ old operations base at Dallas’ Love Field has landed its first tenants and is already growing.
Starting in 2018, a development partnership that includes The Arnold Cos., Lincoln Property Co. and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones began a $140 million reconstruction of the historic building on Lemmon Avenue.
Built in 1958 for the legendary Big D airline, the midcentury modern building has been transformed into a new retail, office and aviation complex called Braniff Centre. Most of the new aviation space, which faces the Love Field runways, is already spoken for. It’s in Braniff’s old hangars, which were refurbished and repurposed for private aviation uses.
“We wanted to be an executive terminal,” said Tad Perryman, vice president of marketing for The Arnold Cos. and its TAC Air operations. “Our customers are elated to have another choice at Love Field.”
The 60,000-square-foot hangar and aviation space TAC Air has in the Braniff building is doing so well that an expansion is already underway.
“Construction has started on our phase two, which is another 40,000 square feet of hangar space” in a new building to the south of the old Braniff complex, Perryman said.
The north side of the old Braniff building houses operations for Flexjet, a private jet aircraft fractional ownership, leasing and operations firm. The Cleveland-based aviation company moved its North Texas operations from Addison Airport to the Braniff Centre.
And Dallas auto dealer Randall Reed has his Lincoln dealership and other companies housed next door in what was once the Legend Airlines Terminal and garage.
To access the aviation facilities on the runway side of the complex, developers cut a below-grade driveway under the distinctive Braniff building facing Lemmon Avenue. Designed by noted international architects William Pereira and Charles Luckman and local designer Mark Lemmon, the building was cherished by preservationists who feared it might be knocked down.
The developers have preserved the look and much of the space facing Lemmon Avenue and are marketing it to retailers, restaurants and office users. “We have some different groups that have been looking at that,” Perryman said. “Hopefully very soon we will be able to make some announcements.”
The redevelopment has retained key sections of the old Braniff operations center, which housed everything from offices to maintenance facilities for planes.
“Our goal was to honor the facility and the location and what it was about,” Perryman said.
On the bottom level, double blast doors lead to two chambers where technicians could test jet engines. And much of the old steel Braniff hangars, including the big sliding doors, are still there.
“It’s the same structure, just refurbished,” said TAC Air general manager Kip Simanek.
With construction on the historic building renovations almost finished, it’s easier to show off the space, Simanek said. “A lot of people couldn’t see the vision,” he said. “Now that the space is more showable, there is a lot of interest in it.”
The TAC Air terminal building on the west side of the complex includes a passenger area, a pilots lounge and a luxurious private meeting and event area on the second floor overlooking the runway.
The Dallas Cowboys’ Legends Hospitality division operates the space, which can house everything from executive meetings to parties.
The final addition to the TAC Air terminal will be a replica of the Braniff jet that the Dallas Cowboys used to fly to out-of-town games. “We will be hanging a one-fifth scale 727 Braniff plane with Cowboys markings from the ceiling,” Perryman said.