Photo Courtesy Black Forest Vent
Corporate travelers in and around The Woodlands area will soon have more options when it comes to flying. Black Forest Ventures recently announced its acquisition of Galaxy Air Services FBO, LLC. The purchase of Galaxy is part of Black Forest Venture and Montgomery County’s plans to expand private air travel at Lone Star Executive Airport in Conroe.
“We have a long-term strategic vision and as The Woodlands grows, and as Montgomery County and Conroe in particular grow, we think there is a need for a high-end FBO [fixed-base operation] facility that more and more corporate travelers will use,” said Jonathan Hitchcock, chief financial officer for Black Forest Ventures.
Scott Smith, director for Lone Star Executive Airport, said the county was looking to expand the airport’s operation to the southeast and sought out interested developers.
Black Forest Ventures was chosen after a formal Request for Proposal process and entered into a 40-year lease of 15 acres. Smith said Black Forest also has the option of extending the lease and including another 75 acres for future development.
Galaxy FBO, which opened in 2006, will be relocated to the expanded portion of Lone Star Airport, Hitchcock said. The entire Black Forest project will include 80,000 square feet of hangar space, a lounge area, flight planning rooms, work stations and private meeting rooms, a Black Walnut Cafe restaurant, Hubbell & Hudson gourmet catering, covered parking and car detailing.
Smith said the airport has seen an increase in demand for hangar space and corporate aircraft. The airport has increased its base of private jets from two to 16 in the past five years, he said.
“It’s a reflection of what’s going on with business in this area from Beltway 8 through The Woodlands and Conroe,” Smith said.
Gil Staley, president of the South Montgomery County Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership, said with the rapid growth of corporate offices and business relocations in The Woodlands, more of a need has developed for private aircraft use.
“You have to have an airport that is intended for the corporate type of travel and for those private aircraft that serve those corporations, you need a facility like this to compete,” he said. “The value that brings to our corporate aviation market is critical.”
The EDP is, in part, charged with enticing business to either open or relocate to the South Montgomery County/Woodlands area. Staley said the improved airport will serve as a key component.
“We look at [Galaxy FBO] as yet another tool we can use when we try to recruit companies here,” he said.
Smith said for the past 15 years Lone Star Airport has served as a general aviation airport, meaning it does not serve commercial or military flights, but instead business and recreational aviation. The demand for more private aircraft use prompted the county to expand the airport’s operations and capacity.
Hitchcock said the development will be a catalyst for further development for both Black Forest Ventures and the county, and the project will likely spur job growth in the area. Site work for the project began about two months ago and site preparation is about one month from being competed.
“Construction could hopefully wind down by July or August of next year,” Hitchcock said.
Service at the new Galaxy FBO could begin by early fall.
Distance from The Woodlands
- Lone Star Executive Airport – 20 min.
- Bush Intercontinental – 25 min.
- Hooks Airport – 25 min.
- Hobby Airport – 50 min.
- West Houston Airport – 50 min.
- Sugar Land Regional Airport – 70 min.
- Houston Executive Airport – 70 min.
Galaxy FBO, 10013 Military Drive, Conroe, 936-494-4252, swww.galaxyfbo.com