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Murphy USA authorized to proceed with hangar plans

Posted on January 15, 2019

By Tia Lyons
Staff Writer

The El Dorado Airport Commission gave the OK Monday for a local corporation to continue developing plans for an addition to the corporate hangar at South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field.

Saying that he was speaking as a representative of his company, Murphy USA, rather than an airport commissioner, Craig Smart said the plans are still in the preliminary stages for MUSA to add office and parking space as part of preparations to move its company jet into the corporate hangar.

Smart said MUSA has been exploring options for a hangar and adjoining office space for the jet and the option to build an additional 65×65 square feet of heated and cooled space was the least expensive of three options.

The hangar is 130×115 square feet.

Two other alternatives would have been to build a new or purchase and refit an existing hangar, Smart told commissioners.

“What I’m seeking right now is if this is something you guys would entertain. The layout is very similar to what we have at the (existing Murphy Oil Hangar) now,” said Smart, an airport commissioner and chief pilot for MUSA.

Murphy Oil also has a corporate hangar at the municipal airport.

Construction for the nearly $2 million SARA corporate hangar was completed in 2016.

The El Dorado City Council and the then-El Dorado Economic Development Board approved $850,000 of the former El Dorado Forward, one-cent economic development tax to match a mix of federal and state grants to cover the cost of the project.

Airport commissioners lobbied for the hangar, saying then that it would meet increasing demand for such space at SARA, better serve the area’s aviation community and aid in the growth and development of the municipal airport.

Since then, the hangar has been doing brisk business, with the city’s former and current Essential Air Service providers — SeaPort Airlines and Southern Airways Express, respectively — parking aircraft there overnight.

The hangar also regularly serves transient aircraft.

Mickey Murfee, chairman of the airport commission, and SARA manager Jonathan Estes said the deal would benefit the city in several ways.

MUSA would enter into leases for hangar space, ground space and exclusive ramp usage.

Additionally, Estes said the arrangement would also mean additional fuel profits for the city, with MUSA potentially purchasing 45,000-50,000 gallons of jet fuel, based on a rolling, three-month average.

Per direction from the Federal Aviation Administration, the leases with MUSA would include a reversionary clause, meaning that the add-ons would revert back to the city should MUSA vacate the hangar or after 50 years of occupancy.

Estes said MUSA would also have room for expansion should the company decide to move another jet into the hangar.

Commissioner Gary Harrell asked if hilly terrain on the southwest side of the hangar would pose a problem with construction.

Estes and Smart said no, noting that some dirt and drainage work would have to be done. Estes said two manholes would also have to moved and a culvert moved or rerouted.

“(Stormwater) all flows naturally down towards that pond over there,” Estes said.

Smart said he did not have any additional details on the project, reiterating that he was authorized by MUSA to see if commissioners would be receptive to the proposal.

“I think you’ve looked at all your options. You know your needs, so we don’t need to get involved with that. Looks good,” Commissioner Bob Watson said.

Added Murfee, “I think this will be a positive move for the airport and a positive move for Murphy USA. Murphy will be a good tenant for us.”

Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or tlyons@