Signing ceremony: From left: Manassas Airport Commission’s Chair Ross Snare; Mayor of Manassas Michelle Davis, SHRM-CP, MBA; Avports CEO Jorge Roberts; Manassas Airport Director Juan Rivera
Small and mid-sized airport operator, Avports, has signed a 40-year public-private partnership (PPP) lease with the City of Manassas in Virginia, to develop, finance, and operate the passenger terminal building and landside infrastructure at Manassas Regional Airport.
Avports, which describes itself as “America’s most experienced operator” said that it planned on bringing convenient and affordable travel to the residents of Manassas and Prince William County in Northern Virginia.
Manassas Regional Airport has close proximity to Washington D.C. and is currently the largest general aviation airport in Virginia. Its owner, the City of Manassas, promotes the idea of “flying your own schedule without the hassles of a commercial airport.”
While serving the D.C. area for more than half a century in this way, the new deal—signed off at the end of July—is expected to bring commercial services to the airport within two years. There have been plans to expand the airport business, with two public information workshops scheduled to discuss the Manassas Regional Airport master plan, currently being developed by RS&H.
Aerial view of Manassas Regionl Airport.
© City of Manassas
The first meeting was held in March and another is planned for this fall, though a date is yet to be announced. More than 10 priorities have been identified by RS&H, so far. Given the closeness to the U.S. capital, key among them were roadway access to the airport to increase the attractiveness for business travelers, and multimodal access.
A detailed review of the terminal area is also being undertaken to determine the best way to develop it. With the corporate fleet at the airport currently growing and flying increased distances, a runway extension is also part of the discussion.
The current timeline anticipates the completion of these studies in the third quarter of 2023, resulting in the creation of an airport layout planning document in accordance with federal design standards.
In a social media post, Avports’ CEO Jorge Roberts, an expert in the airport privatization sector, said of the new deal: “I am proud of my team, which is on a roll with two airport P3s in two years.
“I want to thank the following leaders for their political will and unanimous support and trust in us: VA Governor Glenn Youngkin; City of Manassas Mayor Michelle Davis-Younger; City Council Members (Pam Sebesky, Theresa Coates Ellis, Sonia Vazquez Luna, Ralph Smith, Tom Osina, Mark Wolfe); City Manager Pat Pate, Airport Commission Chair Ross Snare and the Airport Commission’s members; VDOT Secretary Shep Miller; VA Aviation Director Greg Campbell; and Airport Director Juan Rivera and his team.”
One development aspect of Manassas Regional Airport is that—given its focus on general aviation—future fleets may eventually contain electric-powered aircraft. Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) and fixed-wing aircraft are likely to significantly impact general aviation in the U.S. and this may have to be taken into consideration across the airport’s 20-year planning period.
On the other hand, the airport’s proximity to Washington and the requirement for secure airspaces, coupled with winter weather, may not be conducive to the operation of eVTOL technology.
Avports was founded in 1927 as a division of Pan American Airways formerly known as Pan World Services. The company invests in, develops, manages, and operates a diverse range of airports: commercial and general/corporate aviation airports, passenger terminal facilities, as well as military bases, joint-use airports, heliports, NASA facilities, and spaceports.