Mayor authorized to sign airport-management contract

Published 2:10 am Friday, January 12, 2007

By Staff
Tradewind Aviation could begin operating facility by Feb. 1
By MIKE VOSS, Contributing Editor
Washington’s City Council authorized Mayor Judy Meier Jennette to sign a contract with Tradewind Aviation to operate Warren Field Airport.
The unanimous authorization come during the council’s Jan. 8 meeting. Tradewind Aviation, owned by Thomas Dolder, is based at the Craven Regional Airport near New Bern. Earlier this year, it submitted one of two proposals to manage the airport.
Jennette said there’s a good chance Tradewind will be operating at the airport by Feb. 1.
The city, which began looking for an airport manager last summer, had hoped to have that manager at the airport by late last year. That didn’t happen because it took the city and Tradewind longer than expected to draw up the contract.
Smith also said the contract keeps the city’s costs related to airport activities at previous levels. The contract does provide some incentives such as subsidies to Tradewind in the first year of the contract.
Under terms of the agreement, the city will provide Tradewind a $50,000 operating subsidy during the first year of its operation at the airport, with the subsidy prorated monthly.
The city will receive 5 percent of any revenue Tradewind derives from renting nonpublic spaces in the airport’s terminal building or its annex, according to the draft agreement.
Tradewind will receive 5 percent of any revenue the city derives from renting spaces in T-hangars and tie-down spaces. Tradewind would manage and maintain the T-hangars and tie-down spaces.
“During the first year of operation, the City shall purchase all aviation fuel to be dispensed by Operator at the Airport. Operator shall be responsible for keeping detailed records of such sales,” reads the agreement. The city is required to rebate a six-cents-per-gallon markup to Tradewind for all fuel sales, according to the draft agreement.
After the first year of operation, Tradewind is required to pay the city 10 cents for each gallon of fuel Tradewind sells. Tradewind also will pay the city a 10-cents-per-gallon markup above the fuel supplier’s delivered invoice price … for all aviation fuel obtained by Tradewind for its business, the agreement reads.
The agreement will be in effect for three years and shall automatically renew for successive two-year periods, subject to termination provisions in the agreement.
The airport, now owned solely by the city, used to be co-owned by the city and Beaufort County.
Under the agreement, the city grants Tradewind the nonexclusive privilege to operate, conduct and perform the following services at the airport:
Jennette said she and Dolder came to realize during discussions that the community college and Tradewind could work together to establish an avionics course at the college. Avionics means aviation electronics — all electronic systems designed for use on aircraft.
Jennette said area aircraft owners who need avionics work performed on their aircraft must go to either Goldsboro or Fayetteville. Setting up an avionics shop in Washington would provide another avionics option for aircraft owners in the region, she noted.
The council meets at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 22. During that meeting, the council will discuss a proposed lease of the Civic Center with the Washington Tourism Development Authority, which began managing the Civic Center on July 1, 2006. The city’s Parks and Recreation Department used to manage it.