Premier Flight Center LLC, the flight school provider for Ozarks Technical Community College, has consolidated operations into a new hangar at Springfield-Branson National Airport.
A Sept. 15 kickoff and hangar celebration has been scheduled to officially launch the hangar, located next to the Expedia office complex at the airport's old terminal, according to a news release. Premier Flight Center General Manager Corina Bond said the organization moved in on July 1.
“We opened in 2016 with just two training aircraft. Now we have nine,” Bond said in the release. “They were stored in several different locations at the airport – we needed to get all of them under one roof.”
Bond said via email that the $600,000, 17,000-square-foot hangar was created through the renovation of an existing property. Previously, a golf cart was used multiple times per day to transport students and flight instructors to various hangars housing the organization's aircraft.
"Now it's all consolidated in one spot, and we're able to sell our golf cart as it's no longer needed," Bond said.
Premier Flight Center currently has around 80 students enrolled in the program. That's up from 24 in the first semester, according to the release.
Officials pointed to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing the need for pilots is expected to grow by 13% over the next 10 years, with some 14,500 openings created each year.
“The impact of this flight training program goes far beyond Springfield,” Bond said in the release. “The pilots graduating from our program meet a great need. They will make their mark not only on the local economy, but the national and world economy as well.”
General aviation terminal expansion is set to wrap by August.