Tiffin airport

Tiffin Aire at the Seneca County Airport

20160907_151604Tiffin Aire, Inc. is the company that runs the Seneca County Airport, located at 1778 W US 224 in Tiffin. The company is owned by Brad and Kim Newman, the second generation of the family-owned business. The airport is a unique asset for Seneca County and Northwest Ohio.

The Seneca County Airport is a 24-hour fueling station, a propeller shop, an airplane storage location, an FFA pilot examination location and testing center, an aircraft sales location (one of only three in Ohio), a chartered flight provider and more. The business has 33 employees including pilots, front office, and technically skilled positions in the airplane frame and propeller shop.

The company was established in 1965 and dedicated in 1968 by Kim’s parents, Dwight and Jeanne Gnepper. It began with only three employees, two single engine aircraft, two hangars, and an office. Over the years, the Gneppers expanded the business, selling it to the Newmans upon their retirement in 1989. By 1996 Tiffin Aire offered aircraft charter, flight instruction and rental, aircraft sales, aircraft maintenance, parts and oil sales, and propeller/governor sales and service.

Tiffin Aire is one of only 13 propeller shops in the entire country. The prop shop was built in 1997 for $750,000, with another $500,000 in equipment. They service all kinds of propellers, and perform inspections and mandatory “overhauls” every six years. There are no chemicals used to strip the paint from the parts, reducing waste, and all grinding of the blades is done by hand.  They are also able to repair wings, and about once a year, they restore an antique aircraft, like an airplane from the 1940’s sent down from Canada that is currently in one of their hangar bays.

The airport currently has 18 separate hangars, the most recent built in 2015 for $400,000. There are 52 planes based in Tiffin, and storage at the Tiffin Aire facility includes oil, fuel, service and a private hangar. Brad says a lot of their business used to come from local business owners keeping their own private planes, however, that is not the case today.

Over the last several years, they have seen their charter business grow. “We have a great location for people coming into town, or stopping over for repairs,” he said. “We’ve got a great network with the businesses in Tiffin, and customers can walk to local restaurants and stores.”

One way Brad would like to increase traffic to the airport and to Seneca County is through a runway expansion. The current runway is 4,000 linear feet. In order to entertain commercial flights, it would need to be expanded to 5,000 feet. The closest airport able to accommodate commercial flights is in Findlay, which does not offer as many services as the Seneca County Airport. “We’d all benefit from a longer runway,” Brad said.

While the runway expansion is in the works, it could be years before the project begins.

Another way the airport benefits the community is through the Federal Excise Tax. For every gallon of airplane fuel sold, 21.9 cents goes to a tax fund that can only be used for airport improvements. This tax applies whether you purchase fuel at an airport, or if you purchase a ticket on a commercial airline. Since 1989, Brad has collected $4 million from that fund, which provides a 90/10 split on improvements, saving the county money as well as bringing funds spent by citizens back to Seneca County.

Brad attributes the business’ success to great community support, and giving back to the community. “I always tried to make my own way and didn’t ask too much,” he said. “And I always supported our local companies and vocational schools.”

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Tiffin has 5 major airports within 100 mi.

Businesses here love this fact. It means huge choice for them, their customers, flexibility, and low costs. Larger cities can brag about having an airport directly in their city, but it still usually takes people an hour or more to get to the airports (in Chicago, DC, NY), and you don’t have much choice.

Here’s another interesting fact: if you combined all of the passenger traffic through these Tiffin-accessible airports, you get 24 million, which would place it 7th on the largest US airports list, just behind JFK in New York and ahead of San Francisco International. The bottom line is that air travel in Seneca County is easily accessible, flexible, and very often at a great price.

I’ll cover Tiffin’s great local 4000′ runway airport (16G) in a future post. So, without further ado, here is your list, along with basic information about each of Tiffin’s accessible commercial airports:

Toledo Express Airport

From yelp.com

1. Toledo Express Airport (TOL)

  • Distance from Tiffin – 59.5 miles (about an hour)
  • Passengers – 80,000 per year
  • Airlines – 2 (American, Allegiant)
  • Non-stops – Chicago (via American), various Florida (via Allegiant)
  • News – 11% increase in passengers in 2013 (link)
Cleveland Hopkins Airport

From cleveland.com

2. Cleveland-Hopkins International (CLE)

  • Distance from Tiffin – 81 miles (about 1.5 hours)
  • Passengers – 4.3 million per year (40th largest in US)
  • Airlines – 8 (incl. American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, United, US Airways, Air Canada)
  • Non-stops – 240 daily, 70 destinations
  • News – Delta adding non-stop to Hartford starting June 15, 2014 (link)
Port Columbus International

From bizjournals.com

3.  Port Columbus International (CMH)

  • Distance from Tiffin – 91 miles (under 2 hours)
  • Passengers – 3.1 million per year (51st largest)
  • Airlines – 7 (AirTran, American, Delta, Southwest, United, US Airways, Air Canada)
  • Non-stops – 141 daily, 31 destinations
  • News – Port Columbus completes 1st phase of $80 makeover (link)
Detroit Metro Airport

From airport’s website

4.  Detroit Metro (DTW)

  • Distance from Tiffin – 96 miles (under 2 hours)
  • Passengers – 15.6 million per year (17th largest)
  • Airlines – 13 (CMH’s 7 airlines plus Air France, Air Canada, Frontier, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Royal Jordanian)
  • Non-stops – 150 destinations
  • News – Airport adds Minneapolis, Boston, Wilmington, Seattle and Heathrow nonstops for 2014 (link)
  • Non-stops – 141 daily, 31 destinations
  • News – Port Columbus completes 1st phase of $80 makeover (link)
Akron Canton Airport

From airport’s website

5. Akron-Canton Regional (CAK)

  • Distance from Tiffin – 101 miles (about 2 hours)
  • Passengers – 1.8 million per year (89th largest)
  • Airlines – 5 (Delta, Southwest, Allegiant Air, United, US Airways)
  • Non-stops – 12 destinations (incl. Boston, NY, Philadelphia, DC, Detroit, Chicago, Denver)
  • News – 2013 is second busiest year in airport’s history (link)

Sources – all airport information taken from their own websites except for the passenger data, which was taken from the FAA’s Calendar Year 2012 report (most recent data.)