In the past year, Ms. Gist has represented a real estate deal for a 63,000-square-foot hangar facility at Burbank Airport, just outside Los Angeles; an 18,000-square-foot hangar facility at Paine Field; and a development of 27 hangars at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif. She would not disclose cost but estimated that values had increased as much as 30 to 50 percent since the beginning of the pandemic.
Indeed, aircraft owners are finding that hangar rents have climbed so much that the cost to park at an airport farther from the city center and then chartering a helicopter in can be cheaper than leasing hangar space at their airport of choice.
Roger Woolsey has a bird’s-eye view of the hangar-space crunch. He is chief executive of Million Air, which franchises 37 fixed-base operators across Canada, Colombia and the United States. About one-third of its franchises are actively seeking additional hangar space, which Mr. Woolsey credits to the run on private jet inventory since 2020.
“Prepandemic, roughly 12 percent of the used aircraft inventory in the world was for sale,” Mr. Woolsey said. “Today, it’s less than 4 percent.”
Kimberly Herrell, owner and chief executive of the jet charter operator Schubach Aviation, has a 30,000-square-foot hangar in Carlsbad, Calif., and was able to secure a secondary hangar space at Carlsbad Jet Center last year. As demand has grown for her services, she has not struggled to find places to park her client’s planes, but she has had issues securing new aircraft.
“Every jet for sale in the U.S. has been purchased,” she said. “It’s just nuts. We’re now sourcing planes from all over the world and trying to bring them in.”
The jump in growth for private air travel has happened so quickly, Ms. Herrell said, that there simply hasn’t been time for the industry to expand in tandem.