Columbia Air Services-LAL, LLC, a member of the Columbia group of aviation companies, has acquired the assets of Lakeland Air Service, Inc., at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. With the acquisition, Columbia Air Services-LAL becomes the fifth Columbia FBO location and the first in the southeastern United States.
Columbia named Jack Williams the new general manager of the Lakeland facility. Previously, he served as manager of Lakeland Air Service and in a variety of managerial posts at the airport over 20 years.
Prior to working in airfield management, he was a member of the Piper Aircraft research and design team at Lakeland and was integral in the certifications of the Cheyenne III, IIIA and Cheyenne 400 aircraft.
The company plans to build new and expanded facilities at the airport, including a new 20,000- to 30,000-square-foot hangar near the air traffic control tower, and a new FBO building. Construction is expected to begin later this year.
Columbia also will continue to operate the Lakeland Air Academy, a Part 141 flight school previously owned by Lakeland Air Service. Columbia plans to upgrade aircraft operated by the school.
Art Maurice and Harry Holt founded Columbia Air Services, Inc. in 1980 at Groton-New London Airport (GON) in Connecticut. Since 2001, the Columbia group of affiliated aviation companies has grown to include five FBO locations.
“Lakeland is a great location with excellent growth potential,” said Maurice. “Columbia will begin a comprehensive expansion and renovation project later this year. We hope to preview some of the new facilities at Sun n’ Fun next April.” The company also will implement a standardized multimedia line-service training program, initiated earlier this year at the other Columbia locations, “to ensure safety and consistently high-quality service.”
“With the addition of the Lakeland location, Columbia also becomes a member of the Florida aviation community,” said Holt. “We brought Jack Williams aboard because of his excellent aviation credentials and because of his local knowledge and great reputation. We look forward to building upon the hard work of Daryl Hicks, the former owner of Lakeland Air Services, Inc., and his excellent staff-—many of whom have joined the Columbia team.”
The Columbia group of aviation companies includes Columbia Air Services, Inc., Columbia Fuel Services, Inc., Columbia Aircraft Sales, Inc., Columbia Air, LLC, Columbia Air Services-Rutland, LLC, Columbia Air Services-BHB, LLC, and Columbia Air Services-LAL, LLC. With the combined strength of more than 100 service professionals and facilities in Groton, Conn.; Allaire, N.J. (BLM); Rutland, Vt. (RUT); White Plains, N.Y. (HPN); Bar Harbor, Maine (BHB); and Lakeland, Fla. (LAL), the Columbia group of companies offers a full range of FBO services, including sales, service, charter and management of jet, turboprop and piston-powered aircraft.
For more information, visit [http://www.columbiaairservices.com].