LAWRENCEVILLE — A regional air carrier has announced plans for beefed-up commercial jet service at Lawrenceville’s Gwinnett County Airport. The announcement comes on the heels of recent county rulings against a plan to privatize the airport.
ImagineAir sent out a news release this week stating that within the next several years it hopes for 10 to 15 departures and arrivals per day at Briscoe Field.
Kim Conroy, director of Gwinnett’s transportation department, however, said that despite any outside claims the municipality is committed to keeping it “a publicly operated, general aviation airport, as directed by the board of commissioners.”
Added Conroy: “ImagineAir is an existing tenant at the airport and has been running a commercial charter service at Briscoe for a few years. Because they are flying aircraft under 10 seats, they are operating in line with general aviation use and not commercial passenger service per FAA guidelines.”
Company CEO Ben Hamilton said the Atlanta-based business is “working hard to make Lawrenceville a hub for the aviation industry. We believe our growth will prove the viability of Gwinnett Airport for further commercialization.”
According to the news release, jet service at the Gwinnett County Airport is not expected for several years while the company evaluates additions to its fleet. The company is currently offering service with a fleet of Cirrus SR22 aircraft to and from 600 airports in the Southeastern United States.
Based in metro Atlanta, ImagineAir is an on-demand air taxi service with a network of thousands of airports.
In July, commissioners rejected a proposal to add commercial flights to the small, general aviation field in Lawrenceville. Earlier this month, County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash released a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration acknowledging the municipality’s decision to be removed from the FAA’s privatization program.
In May 2010, Gwinnett received one of five slots for the pilot program, which would have allowed the government to lease or sell Briscoe Field without paying back federal grants.
But earlier this year a review board of citizens recommended the county not only drop the controversial idea of allowing passenger service but also of pursuing a private partnership.