Our History

Emerald Coast Aviation began in 2006 when Jonathan Dunn bought the Aero FX business from the two partners that owned the fixed based operator lease at the Defuniak Springs Airport.

The airport was very much run down and in need of investment and better management. Jonathan was looking for an opportunity in Florida as it had been his lifetime dream to be involved in the aviation industry and to make Florida his home. The opportunity in Defuniak was perfect.

Jonathan made immediate improvements to the airport and worked with the City of Defuniak Springs to renovate the terminal. He made improvements so that the Sacred Heart Air Ambulance, Air heart 3, could be based there which would add a fantastic service to the North of Walton County. Improvements continued with the resurfacing of the ramp and the main runway 9/27.

before
Before
after
After

Business at Defuniak Springs made great progress with added services such as full serve fuel. The airport only offered self serve fuel prior to Jonathan’s take over.

The summer of 2008 rolled around and a new and exciting opportunity arose. The FBO facilities at the Bob Sikes, Crestview airport were subject to a request for proposal for services at the airport. Jonathan set out to prepare a response to the RFP with help from his vice-president Brad Hall, who had previously worked for the current fixed based operator, Sunshine Aero Industries.

After a rigorous selection process Emerald Coast Aviation was picked to be the next fixed based operator and was awarded a 30 year contract in return for the investment into a new fuel farm and a new terminal to be built within three years. The new fuel farm was installed rapidly prior to the taking over the fixed based operator facilities. The previous equipment could not be used as it was housed underground.

Immediate improvements were made to the FBO terminal building with changes to corporate signage outside and multiple improvements inside. The bathrooms were updated, new tile throughout the building was added, and space in the rear was utilized to create a comfortable pilot’s lounge/snooze room as well as a flight planning room.

Before
Before
After
After

Customer-friendly branding was also introduced throughout the Crestview operation to promote the brand ‘Emerald Coast Aviation.’ We also introduced Starbucks coffee and fresh cookies for all visitors and extended the hours from 7am to 8pm.

With guidance from Jonathan and his management team, Emerald Coast Aviation continues to support the general, corporate and military aviation industries. They are currently working to invest and build the Emerald Coast brand with new services such as a FAA 135 on demand charter certificate and a FAA 145 repair station along with a future FAA Part 141 flight school. For information on our growth, please feel free to contact us in the contact details page.

image