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Old Kelly AFB Airplane Hangars Get New Life At Port San Antonio

Courtesy Port San Antonio
Modular luxury cabin unit built by Knight Aerospace as it is loaded into the hold of a military cargo aircraft.

Four abandoned Air Force hangars at the old Kelly Air Force Base have made it possible for a local aerospace company to complete a major custom project on time, all on-site at Port San Antonio.

Knight Aerospace, which has specialized in making custom kits that can quickly transform the interior of military cargo planes, used one of the hangars to outfit a brand new Lockheed Martin aircraft with two custom-designed kits that the company manufactured at its nearby Acme Road facility.

The first kit contains rows of seats, also known as palletized seating, along with a lavatory, galley, and luggage area. The second unit is a fully enclosed luxury cabin with a galley, aeromedical bed, and two lavatories.

Once the company completed the custom kits it needed a place to install them. Port San Antonio offered Knight Aerospace a 30-day lease for the 10,000 sq. ft. hangar so the company could make the installations, test them, and finalize the custom project.

The arrangement was made possible after the Air Force turned over the four hangars to Port San Antonio last year. Port officials said this is the first time it’s rented out one of the hangars on a short-term lease, but is prepared to do so again when Knight or other businesses need a large facility on the Port.

One of the four hangars is leased on a long-term contract with Atlantic Aviation, a fixed-base operator who receives non-airline passenger aircraft.

Port San Antonio also this week celebrated the completion of the first section of 36th Street through the Port, which allows for the development of the next 400 acres of property for commercial and industrial use.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.