All Sides Sign Letter of Intent for New Air Guard Gate at TUS


August 23, 2019

Jessie Butler
Director of Communications
and External Relations
520.573.4835 (office)
623.399.7240 (cell)

All Sides Sign Letter of Intent for New Air Guard Gate at TUS

The National Guard Bureau, the City of Tucson, Aerovation, Inc. and the Tucson Airport Authority jointly announced that a letter of intent has been signed outlining a plan that will relocate the main entrance gate to the Morris Air National Guard Base at Tucson International Airport (TUS).

The letter acknowledges agreement by all parties after seven years of negotiations.

The main points of the agreement are:

  • The ANG will acquire about 26 acres of land – 16 acres from the City of Tucson and 10 acres from the TAA – at the southeast corner of East Valencia Road and South Park Avenue to develop its new main gate entrance.
  • The ANG will design and construct the new entrance, which will be off Park Avenue, at its cost.
  • Aerovation Inc., a Tucson-based aerospace technology firm, that has a nearly 35,000 square-foot hangar on the TAA land to be sold to the ANG, will be relocated to a site on East Aero Park Boulevard near the airport’s air traffic control tower on the west side of the airfield. TAA will sell the airport property to ANG at appraised fair market value to include the full replacement value of the hangar, with the proceeds used by TAA to construct the replacement hangar.

“The TAA and the ANG have common goals, such as preserving safety and meeting regulatory and operational requirements, and many hours have been poured into resolving the matter by both entities,” said Col. Sandra Wilson, commander of the mission support group for the 162nd Wing. ”The letter of intent is a big step in this process and we are excited for continued momentum. We look forward to our future collaboration and partnership with TAA. We are extremely pleased with the progress we have recently made.”

Tucson City Manager Michael Ortega agreed that the collaborative effort bodes well for the future. “When like-minded people come together good things can happen. I am pleased the City of Tucson could contribute in a meaningful way that will assure a lasting relationship with the Air National Guard to benefit our city residents.”

“We at Aerovation are both happy and relieved that we have a path forward with this initial arrangement. We feel that the cloud of uncertainty that has been affecting our business is now lifting,” said Paul Finn, President of Aerovation. “We are thankful to all parties and especially to the Tucson Airport Authority.  They have worked very hard to protect Aerovation’s interests in this pact.”

“This is a milestone achievement, having all of the stakeholders – the Air National Guard, the City of Tucson, Aerovation and the airport – officially reach this agreement for the benefit of each entity and more importantly for our region,” said Danette Bewley, Interim President and CEO of the TAA. “This really is a win-win-win.”

Now that the letter of intent has been signed by all parties, design work will proceed for both the new ANG entrance facility and the replacement hangar. Depending on the cost, congressional approval may be needed for full funding of the projects.

A military security review in 2011 found the existing entrance to the base, at 1700 E. Valencia Road, that has been in use since the base was opened in 1958 did not meet current military standards. There had been two previous agreements, one in 2013 and another in 2018 that ultimately were determined to not allow for design and construction of the most advantageous entrance facility.

ABOUT TUCSON AIRPORT AUTHORITY: The Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) is an independent, non-profit organization operating Tucson International Airport (TUS) and general aviation reliever Ryan Airfield (RYN). TAA has sustained its operations since its origin in 1948 from airport generated revenues without the use of local taxes, and continues to invest millions of dollars each year in safety, security and facility infrastructure that drives job creation and economic activity for the benefit of Tucson and southern Arizona. The two airports currently support 35,000 jobs and house more than 100 tenants, and serve a diverse mix of both aviation and non-aviation related businesses, as well as military and government operations.