Author: Marisa Montgomery

Gulf Shores International Airport eyeing 2025 for commercial service

By: Brady Petree June 7, 2023

Plans to implement commercial airline service at Gulf Shores International Airport (GSA) finally have a completion date in sight.

According to GSA Director Scott Fuller, a new terminal, which will allow commercial airlines to fly in and out of the city, is slated to be constructed by the spring of 2025.

Since announcing plans for the creation of a terminal in a partnership with TBI/VINCI Airports in September 2022, Fuller said, the level of interest he has received from airlines looking to get in on commercial service has been robust. He added some airlines have even inquired about instituting service as early as 2024.

While the interest is there and he would love to take the airlines up on their offers, Fuller said, the primary issue with beginning a year early is GSA currently doesn’t have the required space to do so.

“We have a lot of interest from a lot of airlines basically due to the fact that we have 8 million visitors a year coming in here and a vast majority of those would rather fly,” Fuller said. “The problem is that we don’t have a terminal, so we don’t have a place to put them.”

Fuller said he and his team are working with TBI/VINCI to draw up a design for the terminal, which they hope to submit to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by September at the latest.

When it comes to financing the project, Fuller said, expectations are that phase one of the terminal will come in at approximately $10 million. Fuller said he is hopeful the FAA will lend a helping hand in getting the project funded.

“The FAA has indicated a willingness to help fund the terminal,” Fuller said. “I don’t know how much we’ll get from them, but they said [to] apply for all of it and that’s what we’ll do. … We will know in February or March of next year as to what we’ll get from them.”

Fuller said the airport will fund the remaining balance on the terminal and move forward with the expected completion date in 2025.

While the expansion into commercial service is still a few years away, GSA isn’t wasting any time expanding its current facilities. According to Fuller, GSA currently has eight different facilities in various stages of construction.

In a memo to the Gulf Shores City Council for a work session on Monday night, Fuller wrote two of the airport’s longest tenants are seeking permission to build on their current services.

“Longtime airport tenant Resicum/Aeropro has expanded to the point that they now desire to construct, maintain and operate a standalone facility with a minimum hangar area,” the memo reads.

If approved by the council at the regular meeting, the ordinance would allow for the construction of a 17,000-square-foot hangar and an adjoining office of 4,800 square feet. Both spaces are expected to generate a minimum annual rent of $45,494 per year.

Gulf Shores International Airport completes buildout of Southwest Corporate Hangar Complex


GULF SHORES — The Gulf Shores Airport Authority announced Thursday, June 1, that all of the available corporate hangar sites in the Southwest Corporate Hangar Complex have been filled following the addition of Tetelestai Aviation, LLC.

Tetelestai’s agreement marked a ninth new facility that now totals 128,960 square feet in various stages of construction. The Southwest Corporate Hangar Complex was originally built in 2008 but then sat idle for a number of years due to an economic downturn at that time.

The substantial growth of the Alabama Gulf Coast in recent years has placed an incredible demand for new airport facilities to accommodate the influx of businesses and people moving to the area. And with only more businesses and people set to move to Baldwin County, Airport Director Scott Fuller said the search has already started for further expansion.

“A study is underway to identify and develop the next most viable sectors of the airport to address additional unmet demands for new facilities,” Fuller said.

The master plan jointly financed by the City of Gulf Shores will include compatible land use plan for areas immediately adjacent to the airport which are also experiencing substantial growth and new project developments.

Resicum International approved for land lease

Also last Thursday, the Gulf Shores Airport Authority reported an approval for a land lease with Resicum International, LLC. for construction of a hangar office complex to provide MRO services for the Gulf Shores International Airport – Jack Edwards Field.

Resicum will construct an initial facility of 21,800 square feet on a 3.7-acre site next to the recently completed air traffic control tower facility. From this site, they will perform aircraft maintenance, avionics sales and repair along with their existing flight instruction and military service contracts.

“Resicum/Aeropro has been a welcome tenant on the field for a number of years and we are pleased to see them expand their operation here,” said Vic Roberts, Authority Chairman.

For more information about Gulf Shores International Airport, call the Gulf Shores Airport Authority at (251) 967-3968.

Gulf Shores International Airport Fully Leases Southwest Corporate Hangar

Tetelestai Aviation Signs Lease, Completing Gulf Shores Airport’s Hangar Complex

Alabama Skyway’s new Facility – Nearing completion
R. Ken Cooper • June 02, 2023

Gulf Shores, Ala. – (OBA) – In a significant development for the Gulf Shores International Airport, the Southwest Corporate Hangar Complex has reached full capacity with the inclusion of Tetelestai Aviation, LLC. This signifies the leasing of all available corporate hangar sites by the Gulf Shores Airport Authority.

The complex, initially built in 2008, remained largely unoccupied for years due to an economic slump at the time. However, the recent surge in growth along the Alabama Gulf Coast has brought an increased demand for airport facilities, prompting businesses and individuals to move to the region.

Tetelestai Aviation’s addition marks the ninth new facility in the Southwest Corporate Hangar Complex, adding to the ongoing construction. In total, the complex will have 128,960 square feet of space distributed among thirteen facilities, all built since 2017.

Scott Fuller, the Airport Director, announced plans for further expansion. A study is currently in progress to identify and develop the most promising sectors of the airport to meet the growing demand for new facilities. The master plan, co-funded by the City of Gulf Shores, will include land use planning for areas adjacent to the airport, which are also witnessing significant growth and development of new projects.

For further information regarding Gulf Shores International Airport, the Gulf Shores Airport Authority can be reached at 251-967-3968.

FAA Updates Recreational Drone Flying Guidance


WASHINGTON— The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today issued guidance on how to become an FAA-recognized community-based organization for recreational drone flying.

Under federal law, recreational drone flyers must follow the safety guidelines of a FAA-recognized community-based organization. The organization is required to develop its safety guidelines in coordination with the FAA and an applicant may wish to tailor them to a particular type of unmanned aviation.

The FAA’s guidance, Advisory Circular 91-57C provides a comprehensive list of recommended safety guidelines that applicants may consider using in their application. Organizations that meet the legal definition of a community-based organization may apply for FAA recognition through the FAA’s DroneZone website.

The updated guidance also provides information on applying for recreational flying fixed sites, hosting sponsored events and educational use requirements.

Gulf Shores Airport Authority Executes Agreement with VINCI Airports/TBI Airport Management for New Airline Terminal at Gulf Shores International Airport.

September 7, 2022

The Gulf Shores Airport Authority signed an agreement with TBI/VINCI Airports for construction of a new commercial air terminal at Gulf Shores International Airport, Gulf Shores, Alabama.  VINCI is the leading private airport owner/ developer in the world.  TBI/VINCI will build, manage, and operate the new facility with the Authority maintaining operational control of the airport.  TBI/VINCI and the Authority will jointly market for new entrants to service one of the largest leisure market sites on the Gulf Coast with over 8,000,000 visitors annually.

The project involves a two-phased approach with an estimated $3.7 M initial investment in interim facilities that will be in operation by March 1 of 2023.  Design work will begin on the permanent structure once passenger enplanements  reach 75,000 with construction to begin at 125,000 enplanements.   Scott Fuller, Airport Director stated, “ with the level of interest and existing demand, we don’t plan to be in the interim for long.  The only reason to address interim facilities is to accommodate traffic now and not wait for a two-year design and construction project to be completed.” “We have already passed on two projected startup requests for lack of adequate facilities” stated Vic Roberts, Chairman of the Gulf Shores Airport Authority.

The Authority was assisted in the solicitation and negotiation process by BJSA, Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio.

For more information about Gulf Shores International Airport, please call the Gulf Shores Airport Authority at 251-967-3968.

Statement from Mayor Robert Craft regarding ALDOT’s decision on the Waterways Bridge Project

September 2, 2022

I am glad to learn that the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) has refused a proposal that would have placed the transportation fate of Alabama’s beaches in the hands of a foreign bridge company for the next 50 years. Thirteen months of negotiations between ALDOT and the toll bridge owners culminated in a proposal that would enforce a 50-year restriction on building any new, free, public bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) between State Highway 59 in Gulf Shores and State Highway 161 in Orange Beach. This 50-year restriction would remain regardless of future growth, traffic conditions, or any other justifiable need. Proponents of the toll bridge company’s plan have focused on their proposal to provide Baldwin County residents toll-free passes. However, any deal that would allow a foreign bridge company to control access and dictate the expansion of transportation infrastructure in any part of Alabama is a bad deal.

I am encouraged that ALDOT is planning to begin advertising to accept bids on its long-proposed Waterways Bridge project, which will provide a new, free route to and from Alabama’s beaches for everyone. While some try to make this a “Gulf Shores project” or a Gulf Shores versus Orange Beach debate, it is not. This project was designed by ALDOT as their solution to traffic congestion on State Highway 59. The proposed bridge begins in Gulf Shores and lands in Orange Beach. The project has received overwhelming public support from local residents, tourism officials, hospital leaders, and elected officials, including Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon and me. Mayor Kennon and I even released a joint letter to the editor in 2018 which referenced this project as “our bridge to the future.” When constructed, the Waterways Bridge project will immediately improve traffic conditions on State Highway 59, provide an additional evacuation route off the island and create a foundation of new transportation infrastructure that is critical to accommodate the continued growth and success of Alabama’s beaches.

SEC-AAAE General Aviation Project of the Year


Scott Fuller,  Airport Director Gulf Shores International Airport          


New Air Traffic Control Tower



 Gulf Shores International Airport, Gulf Shores, Alabama



New construction of Air Traffic Control Towers (ATCTs) are highly specialized projects that are rarely seen. It’s estimated that this was the first ATCT project completed in the State of Alabama within the last 30 years. This new tower will provide superior factors of safety for the air and ground operations into and out of the Airport. By involving the local community in the design process, the final product incorporated  architectural elements of the area.


Vic Roberts, Chairman                                                     Airport Authority of the City of Gulf Shores, Alabama

Scott Fuller, Airport Director                                        Gulf Shores International Airport

Marisa Montgomery, Assistant Airport Director   Gulf Shores International Airport

Michael Cole, Project Manager                                      Barge Design Solutions, Inc.

Pete Deeks, Engineer                                                         AJT Engineering, Inc.

Ken Frady and Luke Larson, Designers                     AJT Engineering, Inc.

Craig Blackburn, Vice President                                   White-Spunner Construction, LLC

Adam Bryce, Superintendent                                          White-Spunner Construction, LLC              

Daniel Prickett, Branch Manager                                   InterTek-PSI Engineering, Inc.

John Cook, Project Manager                                            Audet Electric, Inc.



Final Design Completed 6-18-2022

Total Fee: $514,295

NTP issued for Construction 11-2-2020

ATCT Commissioning date 11-17-2021

Total Construction Cost: $5,248,954



This project was the first ATCT in the nation to use the new FAA alternate VISTA siting procedure using virtual reality modeling. The entire airport was modeled along with the proposed tower location at the proposed eye elevation. Air Traffic Controllers then used virtual reality goggles to ensure that all movement areas on the airport were visible from the proposed tower location.

The selected site was on a mowed vacant area allowing a CATEX environmental exclusion.

The building was designed around the controller’s needs, ergonomics as well as the communications systems necessary to control the airport traffic.  Carefully laid out cable and internal infrastructure passages and management allowed ease of installation and future access.  The controller cab consoles were meticulously designed for the user and the placement of the communications equipment.

The efficient design packs multiple functions into a 24 ft square footprint including stairs, elevator and space for office/training and equipment rooms.  The design has time proven details and shop drawings were carefully coordinated to permit a schedule friendly construction timetable resulting in less than 1% change orders.

A Rammed Aggregate Pier system was used in lieu of a deep foundation which was required to support the heavy small footprint building.  The more economical Geopiers allowed the foundation to be ready weeks earlier at lower cost when compared to a deep piling foundation.

The actual tower design utilized over a million pounds of very large precast panels that were installed on the foundation and then stacked on top of each other using panel interlock keyways and steel embed plates to secure each panel to each other. This was the most cost-effective manner of construction.  Other advantages include substantially shortened construction duration, very low maintenance, 30 year exterior finish using integral colored cement and the durability of concrete.  All 89 precast penetrations were planned out during design so that no field drilling was required.  All exterior metal including fasteners are high quality stainless steel or high tech finishes to withstand the corrosive marine environment.

Precast panels, laminated glazing, and careful detailing rates the building to withstand 174 mph hurricane force winds. One unique aspect of this tower was the vast amount sight glass and spandrel glass used to provide architectural enhancements.

This new tower conforms to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements for control towers, the International Building Code and local and State codes.

With new flight services, Gulf Shores looks to skies to bring tourists to Alabama beaches

Jack Edwards National Airport in Gulf Shores, Ala., on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2019. Plans are underway to construct an $8 million to $10 million terminal to welcome commercial air service within the next two years. (John Sharp/

People in and around the Gulf Shores area will soon be able to take flights to select airports in the Southeast thanks to carrier Ultimate Air Shuttle.

Jay Taffet, founder of Southeast Beach Express, told The Advocate that the airline was founded to provide quicker access to Alabama’s beaches. In 2018, nearly 6.6 million people visited the beaches and almost all of them drove there.

Only 7% came by air, according to Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism.

Beginning in June, the company will offer flights from Gulf Shores’ Jack Edwards Airport four days a week, with prices beginning at $245, according to their Facebook page.
From Gulf Shores, you’ll be able to travel to Atlanta after landing at Cobb County’s McCollum Airport, Nashville after landing at John C. Tune Airport and Baton Rouge after landing at Baton Rouge Metro Airport.
According to the company’s Facebook, here is the complete “South Beach Express” flight schedule which will operate every Thursday through Sunday:
  • Gulf Shores to Atlanta
    • Depart: 9:30 a.m. (CST)
    • Arrive: 11:35 a.m. (EST)
  • Atlanta to Gulf Shores
    • Depart: 12:20 p.m. (EST)
    • Arrive: 12:25 p.m. (CST)
  • Gulf Shores to Nashville
    • Depart: 1:10 p.m.
    • Arrive: 2:35 p.m.
  • Nashville to Gulf Shores
    • Depart: 3:20 p.m.
    • Arrive: 4:45 p.m.
  • Gulf Shores to Baton Rouge
    • Depart: 5:30 p.m.
    • Arrive: 6:20 p.m.
  • Baton Rouge to Gulf Shores
    • Depart: 7:05 p.m.
    • Arrive: 7:55 p.m.

This new service is just one of many that could be taking place at Gulf Shores’ airport in the future. The airport was one of three in Alabama to apply for a federal grant from the Department of Transportation in order to expand their commercial flight services.

Taffet told The Advocate that while the flights are set to end in late September, service could be extended beyond that time if there’s demand for it.

Public Notice Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

CONSTRUCT AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWER at Jack Edwards National Airport Gulf Shores, Alabama

Interested parties are hereby notified that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the construction of a new Air Traffic Control Tower at the Jack Edwards National Airport, located in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

The EA has been prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.  The purpose of the EA and FONSI is to assess the effects on the human and natural environment associated with the Proposed Action.

The FONSI is the FAA’s finding that the Proposed Action will not have a significant effect on the human and natural environment associated with the land acquisition and proposed improvements.

The FONSI and Final EA are available for a 30-day informational public review at the following locations:

Jack Edwards National Airport
Terminal Building
3190 Airport Drive
Gulf Shores, AL 36542

Federal Aviation Administration
Airports District Office
100 West Cross Street, Suite B
Jackson, MS 39208

Gulf Shores Airport Authority Breaks Ground for New Air Traffic Control Tower Facility at Jack Edwards National Airport (JKA)

Today, the Airport Authority of Gulf Shores held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new air traffic control tower facility at Jack Edwards National Airport (JKA). The new tower was made possible through $6.13 million in grant funding from both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the “CARES ACT” secured by the joint efforts of Senator Richard Shelby and Congressman Bradley Byrne. JKA currently ranks as the second busiest airport in operations (landings and takeoffs) in Alabama and will rank in the top 40 of 256 Federal Contract Towers nationwide once the tower is in operation.

As a result of the “CARES ACT,” the participation in grant funding for the tower increased to 100 percent from the original 90 percent of grant funding and 10 percent of local funding from the Airport Authority. Chairman Vic Roberts of the Airport Authority stated, “The $700,000 in local Airport Authority funding set aside for the tower construction will now be reallocated to a future terminal project at JKA.”

Senator Shelby announced the grant as one of four for Alabama Airports earlier this week stating, “This funding is significant for the state and will increase economic development opportunities in these communities as well as improve safety at these airports.”

Congressman Byrne said, “Jack Edwards National Airport serves one of the fastest-growing regions of our state. The funds that the FAA has approved for this much-needed tower will enable the airport to take another step forward in servicing its customers and the Southwest Alabama economy. In years to come, the airport will play an increasingly vital role in the continued development of Baldwin County. I appreciate the FAA approving these funds, and I look forward to continuing to support the airport’s growth.”


“Jack Edwards National Airport serves the thriving business and tourism market in Gulf Shores, South Baldwin County and the communities along the Alabama Gulf Coast,” said Mayor Robert Craft. “This full-service airport is an outstanding asset creating jobs and diversification opportunities for new and existing businesses. JKA is vital to the development and continued economic growth of the area and provides a transportation hub for anyone traveling for business, recreation or relaxation.”

The project is slated to be completed by July 30, 2021, with FAA commissioning proposed for September 30, 2021.

The event included tours of an Elite Airways CRJ 700 and an announcement made by John Pearsall, CEO of Elite Airways, of the intent to begin providing the residents of Gulf Shores with scheduled service in early 2021 pending FAA and TSA approval.