Monday, September 01, 2014

City OKs new operator for airport

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 10/2/2013

Ottawa Municipal Airport has a new fixed-base operator.

The Ottawa City Commission voted 4-0 Wednesday night to approve a two-year contract with OWI Aviation LLC to operate the airport, 2178 Montana Road, about three miles southeast of Ottawa. OWI, which is the airport’s call letters, is a newly formed airport management company owned by Hawkeye Helicopter LLC, 401 S. Main St., Ottawa.

Ottawa Municipal Airport has a new fixed-base operator.

The Ottawa City Commission voted 4-0 Wednesday night to approve a two-year contract with OWI Aviation LLC to operate the airport, 2178 Montana Road, about three miles southeast of Ottawa. OWI, which is the airport’s call letters, is a newly formed airport management company owned by Hawkeye Helicopter LLC, 401 S. Main St., Ottawa.

Blake Jorgensen, city commissioner, abstained from voting because of a previously stated banking relationship with Hawkeye.

The two-year contract, which runs through Oct. 1, 2015, calls for the city to pay OWI $58,000 per year, divided into 12 monthly payments, to operate the airport. The contract includes the option to renew the FBO agreement for another two-year term.

The city has been looking for a permanent fixed-base operator to succeed Chuck LeMaster, 80, who resigned in mid-December 2012.

Mike Skidmore, city commissioner, was pleased the city was able to find a qualified fixed-based operator that also is a locally-based aviation company, he said.

The agreement calls for the city to receive 10 cents per gallon on all aviation fuel sales, as well as a small portion of hangar rentals at the airport. OWI also will be responsible for paying all utilities associated with the main hangar and T-hangars, as well as maintaining insurance, the agreement said. The agreement sets a minimum standard for airport hours as 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to noon Sundays, though OWI representatives indicated the company likely would exceed those minimum hours of operation.

OWI plans to provide flight training as well as offer aircraft leasing and charter services, according to the agreement. The fixed-based operator also will provide the services of a qualified aircraft mechanic for general aircraft engine maintenance and other tasks, the agreement said.

The fixed-base operator also will be responsible for developing a marketing plan to present to the city’s airport advisory board and city commission about how to increase business opportunities and development of the airport.

The city is not leasing the airport to OWI, as it had with the previous operator, Bob Bezek, city attorney, said. Instead, the city is contracting with OWI to serve as the airport’s operator on the city’s behalf, Bezek said.

After the vote, J.D. Scott, owner of Hawkeye Helicopter, thanked city commissioners for the opportunity to serve the city as the airport’s fixed-based operator.

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