The Redmond Airport announced Thursday a 30-year partnership with Bend fixed-based operator Leading Edge Jet Center, which provides general aviation services, in a deal that will create a $6 million investment into the airport.

Leading Edge began working with the Redmond Airport in 2015, and provides maintenance services to the airport such as de-icing runways, mechanical repairs and fueling jets. According to an airport press release, the company pumped more than 4.5 million gallons of fuel last year, and because the airport receives 7 cents for every gallon pumped, it collects $315,000 annually for infrastructure funding.

The agreement includes a $5 million investment by Leading Edge within the first three years of the deal, part of which will go toward a 24,000-square-foot executive airplane hangar and a 6,000-square-foot operator office building. Leading Edge will invest $100,000 into the World War II Hangar.

“Over the past decade, we have made significant investments in our airport such as the construction of a new terminal, passenger amenities, runway reconstruction, and a fuel farm. Now we are on the cusp of adding a premier general aviation facility to the list,” Redmond Mayor George Endicott stated in a news release. “This would not be possible without partnering with a company like Leading Edge, their reputation for excellence will lead to continued growth and revenue at the airport.”

Leading Edge’s annual lease will increase from $49,000 per year to $129,000 as part of the agreement, according to the news release.

This deal with Leading Edge occurs as the airport has experienced significant growth, including a 75 percent increase in passenger flights since 2013, three additional direct destinations and a 47 percent increase in takeoffs and landings in the past two years, the release stated.

In 2015, the airport had a rough relationship with its long-time fixed-base operator, Butler Aircraft. The company and its landlord at the airport, KC Aero, filed multi-million dollar lawsuits against the City of Redmond, which operates the airport, alleging breach of contract and more. In September 2017, Leading Edge bought Butler and later acquired Professional Air in early 2018, resulting in the company becoming the Redmond airport’s only fixed-based operator.

“RDM is the front door to economic development for this region, and we wanted to be part of it,” Leading Edge CEO and President Brad Fraley wrote in the press release. The City’s support and commitment to healthy growth confirms that this agreement is truly a step toward a great future for Redmond.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7854, jhogan@bendbulletin.com

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