Joined by Mayor John Cooper, the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority on Tuesday broke ground on “Tune Taking Off,” a multifaceted redevelopment plan for John C. Tune Airport. Held on the airport’s 35th anniversary, Tuesday’s ceremonial groundbreaking invoked Tune’s history and launched the expansion program that will build its future.
West of downtown Nashville, John C. Tune Airport, also known as JWN, was inaugurated on July 20, 1986, as the reliever airport for Nashville International Airport. It serves the needs of corporate and private aircraft and is the busiest general aviation airport in the state. The 373-acre airport logged more than 86,500 aircraft operations in 2019.
“The Board of Commissioners is committed to enhancing our aviation community and facilitating the area’s economic growth with this dynamic plan to expand, modernize and upgrade John C. Tune Airport,” Amanda C. Farnsworth, vice chair of MNAA, said in a news release. “Today’s 35th anniversary of JWN is the perfect opportunity to launch this exciting initiative.”
On March 3, 2020, JWN suffered extensive damage from a devastating tornado. The terminal and other buildings, hangars, more than 90 aircraft, airfield and more were damaged. Full operations resumed just 17 days later, and planning began immediately for a major redevelopment of the facility.
“John C. Tune Airport has played a vital role in Nashville’s aviation community for the past 35 years,” said MNAA President and CEO Doug Kreulen. “Now, with the launch of this ambitious redevelopment plan, approved by our Board of Commissioners with input from a variety of stakeholders, we are taking the airport to the next level and building a general aviation center that will rank with the best in the Southeast.”
Tuesday’s groundbreaking kicked off phase one of the JWN redevelopment plan, which will add aviation facilities and replace buildings destroyed in the tornado. As part of this phase, the design-build team of Messer Construction and Garver will build expanded ramp areas, add a new airport access point, construct 12 T-hangar buildings with 78 hangar bays totaling 96,720 square feet, four box hangar buildings with 12 hangar bays totaling 43,200 square feet and two shade port buildings with 10 bays totaling 14,235 square feet. Phase one is estimated to cost approximately $34.5 million and be complete by spring 2022.
Aeroplex Group Partners and MNAA staff created the redevelopment plan — an eight-month planning process — with input from JWN stakeholders.
Another major enhancement at JWN is a new air traffic control tower that is nearing completion and set to open Sept. 1. Built by JE Dunn Construction and designed by Pond & Company and Atkins North America, the 99-foot tower was planned before the tornado and will enhance safety and operational efficiency at JWN. It will play a critical role as aviation activity increases at JWN.