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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

AIRPORT BOARD INVESTIGATES PURCHASE OF FIXED BASE OPERATION

AIRPORT BOARD INVESTIGATES PURCHASE OF FIXED BASE OPERATION
August 16, 2017

In May of this year, the Jackson Hole Airport Board determined that under applicable FAA guidelines, when its new fuel facility became operational in mid-2018, it would be required to accommodate a second Fixed Base Operator (“FBO”) at the Airport. It therefore directed staff to develop a Request for Proposals (“RFP”) for that second FBO.

Thereafter, the Airport’s current FBO, Jackson Hole Aviation LLC (“JHA LLC”), approached the Airport’s Executive Director and suggested that the inefficiencies associated with two FBOs operating on the same ramp could be avoided, if the Board purchased and operated the single FBO on the Airport.

Though a second FBO must be accommodated under FAA’s general rule, the law provides an exception in situations where the airport operator itself chooses to exclusively own and operate the FBO. This has been done at several airports in the United States.

The Board’s Executive Director, attorney and General Aviation Committee have begun to investigate and study such a possible purchase. This review is ongoing, and the General Aviation Committee is not yet prepared to make a recommendation to the Board.

The Board believes a careful investigation regarding purchase of the FBO is in the public interest, because such a purchase might (a) allow for better efficiency and safety of operations on the general aviation ramp and at the fuel facility, (b) avoid the cost of constructing duplicate FBO facilities, © conserve scarce Airport land; and (d) permit the Board to achieve a good return on its investment – helping to assure the Airport can fund needed capital improvements and remain financially self-sufficient.

At its August 16, 2017 meeting, the Board therefore adopted a motion to (1) continue to hold in abeyance the application for a second FBO, and the request of JHA LLC to build additional FBO facilities, and (2) postpone until its September meeting, the issuance of an RFP for operation of a second FBO at the Airport. The Board anticipates that by its September meeting the General Aviation Committee will have completed its review and be in a position to make a recommendation to the full Board regarding a possible purchase.

Issuance of an RFP for a second FBO in September, or even October, would still be nine or 10 months in advance of when the new fuel facility is expected to begin operations, and thus when a second FBO could first be accommodated on the Airport. Because the Board proposes to construct necessary capital improvement – the fuel facility, hangars and parking – this time frame should be adequate.

In the meantime, preparation and refinement of an RFP for a second FBO will continue. This will ensure that when the Board is presented with a recommendation regarding purchase of the FBO, it will be in a position to either immediately issue the RFP for a second FBO, or pursue the purchase of single FBO on the Airport.

For further information contact Jim Elwood, A.A.E., Executive Director, at jim.elwood@jhairport.org, or 307-733-7695.