Owner, Hendry Country in South Florida, and current operator Airglades International, LLC (AIA) want to turn the airport into a new cargo and logistics hub for freight shipments between the US and Latin America and are seeking Federal Aviation Administration approval for the ambitious scheme.
If all goes to plan, AvPORTS will become the airport operator and private investor and equity provider, Star America, will fund its transformation into a new all-cargo and perishable goods airport.
AvPORTS (AFCO AvPORTS Management LLC) is an experienced full-service airport manager and operator across the US and owned by West Street Infrastructure Partners III, a family of infrastructure investment funds managed by the Merchant Banking Division of The Goldman Sachs Group.
Hendry County has previously entered into a purchase and sale agreement with AIA, and this week approved the addition of Star America and AvPORTS to the project.
“Today's actions represent a major boost to our long-term plans to develop a new state-of-the-art logistics complex that will dramatically reshape the efficient flow of perishable goods from Latin American producers to US consumers," said AIA president, Fred Ford.
“Much more work still needs to done, but this airport represents a big win for consumers, airlines, and perishable suppliers, offering streamlined logistics to reduce cold chain disruptions, while reducing trucking and airport congestion.”
Ford expressed appreciation for the co-operation AIA and the County have received from the FAA, Customs & Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration, the United States Department of Agriculture/APHIS.
Hendry County administrator, Jennifer Davis, applauded the private infrastructure investment and potential jobs impact.
She noted: “We couldn’t have come this far without our private partners and their investment.
“They’ll be upgrading our general aviation facilities while bringing much-needed infrastructure improvement and jobs to support this innovative, perishable goods facility.”
Davis noted that the County welcomes comments from the “broadest possible group of stakeholders” and identified multiple locations in the County for interested parties to obtain notice of the plans and encouraged parties to submit comments.
Ford added: “We’re thrilled to select these experienced partners and achieve this significant FAA milestone.”
Christophe Petit, president of Star America, commented: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Airglades International Airport for this very exciting project.
"AIA has an excellent management team and we believe that the project will have a tremendously positive impact for the County.”