REDMOND — In the six weeks since the Redmond City Council authorized its airport to set up a city-owned fueling operation, cutting out its current provider, both parties have come to an agreement that will allow Butler Aircraft Co. to continue operations at the Redmond Airport.
“I think the council’s action jolted them into the realization that the city was serious about this,” said Jeff Tripp, Redmond Airport director.
A nearly eight-hour meeting July 2 with city officials, KC Aero and Butler (which has a subcontract to provide services through KC Aero’s lease) and all parties’ legal counsels ended with the council adopting a resolution Tuesday night approving Redmond Airport’s decision to stop the process of setting up its own fueling center.
Early estimates for the city on setting up a fueling operation came to about $250,000 a year to lease equipment and around $700,000 for staffing.
The key issues prompting the city to consider its own operation revolved around what airport officials and customers considered a lack of good customer service in providing timely fueling and mechanical services. The airport updated its minimum standards policy this spring, setting out what it considered mandatory in fixed-base operator services. KC Aero and Butler balked, insisting they were providing the services their leases required.
“This issue has been dragging on for a few years,” Tripp said. “And we’re still hashing out the details, but as long as our FBO continues to follow our new agreement, the city will suspend efforts to create its own operation. But we are reserving the right to revisit the concept as needed.”
The fixed-base operator lease for KC Aero and its sublease to Butler complicated matters, Tripp said, making the new agreement even more important. Butler’s own lease for property on the north side of the airport is up July 27, and Tripp said the company has opted to not renew but move operations to the KC Aero-leased space on the airport’s south side. The move should not affect services to the airport, he said.
“The lease with KC Aero hasn’t changed; the new agreement is about holding both companies to the terms of the original lease, he said.
Tripp said he feels confident the new agreement will prove successful.
“Frankly, I think they know if we enter the fuel business at the airport, it will probably put them out of business,” he said.
KC Aero’s lease is an unusually long one, so all parties will be monitoring closely how services are handled from here on out to prevent any slide in standards, Tripp said.
“I’ll be long since retired by the time it expires,” he said.
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: In the original version of this story, the decision of the Redmond City Council was incorrectly characterized. The council adopted a resolution approving Redmond Airport’s decision to stop the process of setting up its own fueling center, due to a new agreement with its current fueling provider. A quote attributed to Airport Director Jeff Tripp was also incorrect. KC Aero is a ground lease tenant at the airport that subleases to Butler Aircraft Co. for fixed base operator services.
The Bulletin regrets the error.