Tullahoma Airport Grows Avionics Presence, Opens Business Airpark

June 04, 2018 11:36 AM | Bob Minter (Administrator)

Commercial service airports across Tennessee have long served as economic engines in the communities they serve. But for many rural communities like Tullahoma, general aviation and the ecosystems they create drive millions of dollars in economic impact. Tullahoma is uniquely positioned between Arnold Air Force Base and the University of Tennessee’s Space Institute. It was one of seven air bases created during WWII as a training site for experimental aircraft. Today, Rod Allison walks the same airfield where the Greatest Generation once trained. A former army aviator, Allison started XP Services, an experimental flight services company, at the Tullahoma Airport in 2011. Seven years later, his company has grown to fill six hangars on the airfield and contributes 10 percent of the airport’s overall revenue, according to Jon Glass, Airport Authority Director. Allison’s Tullahoma operation consists of 25 employees and includes machining capabilities to fabricate aircraft components. “It’s not just work for us,” he says of his team of specialists. “It’s an adventure.” Allison’s work has opened doors for the local airport and the community, as well. Last year, XP Services partnered with Sarasota Avionics to create a referral network for SA’s maintenance operation. The Florida-based avionics company needed a location convenient to more of its customers, and Tullahoma’s geography and low cost of operations was a great fit for their needs. Jon Glass said the airport’s partnership with XP Services has been mutually beneficial since the first day.“XP Services’ decision to locate at our airport helped us to get the utility and road access grants we needed to grow our new Business Airpark,” he said. “Now their agreement with Sarasota Avionics helped us obtain a federal grant to construct a maintenance hangar. So it’s been a very good business relationship for our community.” As hangars continue to pop up across the Tullahoma Airport, Glass and his local economic development partners have turned their attention to filling a local Business Airpark. The Select Tennessee certified site includes 102 acres already prepped with utilities and ready for development. Again, local leaders predict geography will be a key contributor to the site’s success. “For businesses looking for airfield access, we offer a cost-effective option to serve the entire southeast,” Glass said. “It’s hard to beat the right location at the right price.”