The future of air transportation and the evolution of the best aircraft are two often-debated topics in aviation circles.

Facility-related topics frequently stand out among business aviation conversations. At the recent National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, two themes came to the surface: a strong economy and expedited design-build delivery.

A Strong Economy is Driving New Aircraft and New Facilities

With a strong economy gracing the U.S., business aviation is growing. The current market is increasing business travel and boosting new project opportunities for many corporations, fixed-base operators (FBOs) and airports across the country to meet these demands and build for the future.

In addition, Gulfstream and Bombardier Aerospace Corp. just raised the business-jet industry bar, introducing the Gulfstream G700 and the Global 7500. These technological marvels of huge size continue the trend toward larger planes and longer-distance flying.

One example of building for the future of flying comes from the Great Plains. In recent years, the North Dakota oil boom made Williams County — where Williston, North Dakota, is located — the fastest-growing county in the U.S. in 2017 and 2018.

Williston answered the call with a new greenfield airport and new full-service FBO with a wide variety of amenities, including accommodations and space for new large business jets, as well as airfield and navigation aids developed with Burns & McDonnell.

Design-Build Delivery Expedites Project Completions

As planes continue to change over time, so must the hangars that accommodate them. FBOs and airports need to plan ahead, and projects must be expedited to meet the market demand. These projects can benefit from the flexibility of design-build project delivery.

With this delivery method, integrated design-build teams collaborate with the corporate or FBO client to provide design and construction services under one contract, one entity and one unified flow of work from concept through completion.

This delivery method provides a wide array of benefits:

  • Faster delivery through a single comprehensive contract that remains schedule-focused
  • Cost savings by working with the client to optimize the initial design
  • Better quality through comprehensive project control by a single company
  • Singular responsibility for all design and construction
  • Reduced risk of cost or schedule overruns through firm project controls

The design-build approach streamlines project delivery with a single contract between the client and the design-build firm. The collaboration and teamwork that’s created saves time and money, delivering facilities quickly to meet market demand.


Whether you’re exploring a new maintenance hangar or an expansion to accommodate wide-body aircraft, design-build can make it happen faster.

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Pat Brown is a business development manager at Burns & McDonnell. He has dedicated his career to helping clients with their airport support facilities including those for heavy maintenance, corporate flights and FBO services.