Cecil Airport: Protecting the Jacksonville of Today and Beyond

Cecil Airport has a rich history beginning at the onset of World War II. In 1942, the United States Navy acquired a parcel of land which they developed into Naval Air Station Cecil Field. As time progressed, Cecil Field would become the U.S. Navy’s largest master jet base to support our troops through every major war until Desert Storm.

In October of 1999, after 58 years of serving the United States Military as a U.S. Navy master jet base, Cecil Airfield was decommissioned by recommendation of the U.S. Base Realignment and Closure Commission. If you ask the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA), they will tell you that this decision by the military was one of JAA’s greatest gains in recent years. Together with the City of Jacksonville, the JAA eagerly took over ownership of Cecil Airfield and began the process of transforming the airfield into the aviation powerhouse that Cecil Airport represents today.

An integral portion of this process included fostering strategic partnerships with entities like Boeing, Florida State College at Jacksonville, the US Military, and the Florida Department of Transportation, among others. The relationship between Cecil Airport and Boeing resulted in the construction of a Boeing maintenance, repair, and overhaul operations facility. For the past 20 years, this facility has played a valuable role in military upgrades and modifications at Cecil Airport. Boeing has assisted in over 1,000 aircraft upgrades including F/A-18 A-D Hornet, F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler.

In 2020, this relationship became even more solid when Pond assisted JAA in developing the programming and preparing the accompanying construction budget to respond to an RFP from Boeing. Upon selection, JAA unanimously approved and signed a 25-year lease with Boeing to expand operations at Cecil Airport. Because of our long, successful history of projects with both JAA and Boeing, Pond was exclusively selected to design this 8-bay Hangar Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Hangar (MRO) and Ramp. It is rare and humbling to collaborate on a project of this scope and impact from concept to reality, and Pond was honored by the trust placed in us by both JAA and Boeing.

The programming Pond provided included planning the site layout including future development in accordance with Part 77 surfaces and previously permitted wetland impact areas. The airside design includes a parking apron with seven 737 parking positions and two taxi lanes to provide access from existing Taxiway Echo to the new MRO Hangar Facility. The apron will include service utility pits and tie downs to maintain aircraft including two parking positions dedicated for fueling and defueling operations. The project also includes all landside facilities and infrastructure including parking lots, access drives, security fences and gates, water systems, sanitary sewer systems, stormwater management, and stormwater conveyance systems for the approximate 50-acre site.

Boeing Jacksonville Looking North
Boeing Jacksonville Main Entry

By creating larger hangars and more useable space, Pond will help Boeing and Cecil Airport expand their presence in Jacksonville and their ability to provide complex solutions to prestigious aviation clients. These improvements assure that Boeing will be able to remain competitive for a full scope of Department of Defense contracts from Cecil Airport. This expansion will also make room for a new digital maintenance platform currently in development which will streamline aircraft maintenance and significantly improve efficiency.

Additionally, the updated facility brings over 400 new jobs to the state of Florida. This will further solidify Cecil’s position as an economic boon to the Jacksonville area. “Florida is attracting the biggest names in aerospace and this announcement with Boeing marks another milestone for the industry’s expansion in our state,” said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “We congratulate Boeing and the City of Jacksonville for this important achievement, which will help sustain economic recovery in Northeast Florida at a critical time.”

On October 27th of this year, Pond attended the groundbreaking ceremony for this site. The 370,000 square-foot facility is set to open in 2023 and will represent the aviation industry’s first digitally-enabled maintenance facility.

“We are honored by the trust placed in our team by JAA, Boeing, and the Jacksonville community. Our aviation team is excited to see the dedicated efforts of planning, design, and collaboration come to fruition for this complex endeavor,” said Hugh Weaver, Pond’s VP of Aviation.

Boeing JAX Groundbreaking
Boeing Jet Showcase

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JACKSONVILLE - (12.22.2020) The Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) signed a 25-year lease with Boeing to expand operations at Cecil Airport, which can bring over 400 jobs to Florida. As a proud partner of JAA, Pond had been exclusively selected to design the new...

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