Media/LSP/21″/mike1st/mark2nd By LISA STEEN PROCTOR Staff Reporter It’s airplane service for the privileged set and business is hot. With a new generation of jets being snapped up by corporate executives and anyone else who can afford the luxury of private jets, Media Aviation is undergoing a $20 million-plus upgrade at the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport. “The use of private airplanes will continue to go up,” said Robert Volk, the company’s chairman and CEO. “Particularly in the entertainment industry, businesses are becoming more international and high-profile people are concerned with security and avoiding contact with the general public.” Executives also turn to corporate jets to save the time it takes to fly commercial and the new generation of jets saves even more time than their predecessors, said Volk. Because the new jets can fly non-stop to destinations as far away as Tokyo or Paris, the jets save the three hours or so it typically takes to land, refuel and take off again, he said. As the largest “fixed base operator” at the airport, Media Aviation leases hangar space and provides fueling and tie-down services to corporate jet owners. The company provides space to about 70 percent of the more than $200 million worth of corporate aircraft based at the airport an airport that serves as a base for many entertainment industry titans. To prepare for the new generation of jets and to respond to increased demand in corporate jet usage, Media Aviation is tearing down many of its old hangars and replacing them with new upgraded hangars. Media Aviation is just one among a group of companies providing specialized services at the Burbank airport for corporate jets and those who fly them. The services range from specialized cleaning, such as T. Brennan Inc. Aircraft Cleaning, to managing the multi-million dollar aircraft, such as Jet Aviation Business Jets, one of Media Aviation’s tenants. To a company, they report an increase in business during the last year. “We’ve always had a fairly substantial number of corporate clients at Burbank,” said airport spokesman Victor Gill. “And we anticipate a significant increase in the number of corporate jets at the airport within the next 10 years.” Volk founded Media Aviation after he sold off another fixed base operator Martin Aviation (which had its primary facilities at Orange County’s John Wayne Airport) and retained the company’s Burbank facilities. Media Aviation generates revenues of $4.5 million most of it from companies that pay a monthly rent to have their jets housed in Media Aviation’s hangars. The company also provides fueling, tie-down and other services (including the use of conference rooms) to corporate travelers simply making a stop at the airport. Volk decided in 1996 to upgrade Media Aviation’s facilities to meet the demand expected from the new generation of jets. Volk turned to Wolff-DiNapoli, a Los Angeles-based real estate development and management firm, as a source of funding and a partner in the development venture. Much of Media Aviation’s upgrade involves constructing hangars high enough to accommodate the new generation of jets with their higher tails. In fact, it’s the first company in Southern California to build hangars that can accommodate the Gulfstream V’s 26-foot tail height, said Volk. The company is constructing hangars with doors 28 feet high and interior ceilings 32 feet high; the company’s tallest pre-existing hangar door is 25 feet high. To provide more privacy for clients, the company also is building single-tenant hangars with high-tech security systems, and decreasing its number of multiple-tenant hangars. The new hangars will not have more square footage (because of the limited land available); instead, the hangars will be built to accommodate more planes in the same amount of space. Old “barrel hangars” structures built during World War II, with roofs shaped like semi-circles will be torn down and replaced with flat-roofed, rectangular hangars. The sloped roof of the old configuration only allows usage of about 60 percent of the total hangar space because jets with higher tails can only be placed in the center space, said Volk. The new hangars will allow the use of all floor space. In addition, all hangar offices will be attached to the hangar from the outside, instead of being placed within, where they take up space that otherwise could be used by aircraft. But development plans involve more than just accommodating new types of jets. The company also plans to accommodate a greater number of jets as well to meet a climbing demand.