UPDATED: Committee Says Florida Aviation Firm Meets Minimum Airport FBO Standards
by Gus Jarvis
01.22.14 - 01:52 pm

MONTROSE – Montrose County Manager Rick Eckert announced Tuesday that Majestic Skies, one of two finalist applicants for a second Fixed Base Operator lease at Montrose Regional Airport, can submit a proposal and begin negotiations with the county.

Unlike the second FBO applicant, Telluride Ski and Golf Asset Holdings, Majestic, headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., meets minimum standards for a Montrose Regional Airport FBO.

The review committee, tasked with reviewing the two organizations’ proposals, said TSG Asset Holdings, which formed Telski Aviation for purposes of entering the proposal process, did not qualify. Telski’s proposal included the use of off airport property, which would require third party negotiations. Because that is not quantifiable, the proposal was deemed non-qualifying.

Eckert, who sat on the FBO-approval committee with Aviation Manager Lloyd Arnold, Road and Bridge Fleet Manager Dave Laursen and County Budget Manager Lanny Paulson, read from that committee’s finding of facts. His report stated that a total of 10 aviation companies were interested in submitting proposals, but that only Majestic and TSG Asset Holding engaged in the proposal process.

“Telski was found not to adhere to minimum standards,” Eckert said. “Majestic Skies adheres to the minimum standards.”

While he didn’t want to elaborate on the FBO proposal he had envisioned, Telluride Ski and Golf Co. owner Chuck Horning said on Tuesday, after the findings were announced, that Telski’s interest in a FBO was related to the overall long-term health of the airport.

“I am hopeful Montrose will become the center of transportation for the whole region rather than just Telluride,” Horning said. “That was our interest in it. Our interest is in the long-term health of the Montrose airport.”

Because Majestic Skies does adhere to the minimum standards for operating an FBO at Montrose Regional Airport, Montrose County, pursuant to Federal Aviation Administration requirements, has an “affirmative obligation” to negotiate a contract with the firm regarding its bid to run an FBO.

Following the meeting, Arnold told The Watch that he, Eckert and County Attorney Teresa Williams will enter into negotiations with Majestic in the coming weeks. From those negotiations, a contract proposal may be drafted and brought to the county commissioners for review. The commissioners’ decision on that negotiated proposal with Majestic will take place in a public hearing.

“We will go ahead and do what we are required to do from the FAA and negotiate in good faith,” Arnold said.

During the Tuesday’s hearing, which drew a capacity crowd eager to learn the names of the FBO proposers, a number of citizens expressed concern that having two FBOs at the airport may not be economically viable. Former Montrose County Commissioner and Montrose City Council member Bill Patterson told the commissioners to keep in mind that the airport’s current and only FBO, the Black Canyon Jet Center, is exemplary in the work that it does.

“Our current FBO has really gone above and beyond in meeting all contract requirements,” Patterson said.

Bob Connor, who ran  for a seat on the Mountrose Board of County Commissioners in 2006, asked if the commissioners can simply say “no” to the Majestic proposal during negotiations.

“Are you obligated to allow everyone, who wants to build one, do it?” Connor said.

“We do have an obligation to negotiate as long as they meet the minimum standards,” Arnold answered. “We are following a federal process.”

Because the county receives FAA funding for the airport to the tune of an accumulated $30 million, Commissioner Gary Ellis said the county is obligated “for a number of reasons” to look at qualified proposals for an FBO.

“We have obligated ourselves to the FAA,” Ellis said. “To try to simplify this probably isn’t such a good idea. Whether we like it or not, if they have met the minimal standards, I guess we have to look at it.”

The county is also learning from a past antitrust lawsuit JetAway Aviation brought against the county in 2007. Commissioner Ron Henderson said during Tuesday’s meeting that the county is trying to avoid any appearance that they are locking new businesses out of the airport.

“In this particular instance, what we are doing is avoiding a lockout if anybody wants to come in,” Henderson said. “We have to avoid all appearances of that. It is a difficult and drawn out procedure but that is what we have to avoid.”

Eckert said that the current process took a shorter amount of time than a similar process took in 2005.

“We were not as slow as they were,” Eckert said. “Those who thought we took too long, I would refer you to 2005.”

It remains unclear if and how long the negotiating process will take with Majestic. Arnold said that could come in the next few weeks but he’s unsure of the timing. As the process unfolds, Ellis said it will be up to the county to figure out what leeway they have with the FAA and the decision the county will be allowed to make.

 

gjarvis@watchnewspapers.com

Twitter; @Gus_Jarvis



POSTED AT 11:24 A.M. ON TUESDAY, JAN. 21


Telluride Ski and Golf Holding Co. Bid Did Not ‘Adhere to the Minimum Standards’

MONTROSE – Montrose County Manager Rick Eckert announced this morning that Majestic Skies, one of only two applicants for a second Fixed Base Operator lease at Montrose Regional Airport, can submit a proposal.

Unlike the second FBO applicant, Telluride Ski and Golf Asset Holdings, Majestic, headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., meets minimum standards for a Montrose Regional Airport FBO.

The review committee, tasked with reviewing the two organizations’ proposals, said TSG Asset Holdings, which formed Telski Aviation for purposes of entering the proposal process, did not qualify. 

Eckert, who sat on the FBO-approval committee with Airport Manager Lloyd Arnold, Road and Bridge Fleet Manager Dave Laursen and County Budget Manager Lanny Paulson, read from that committee’s finding of facts. His report suggested that a total of 10 aviation companies were interested in submitting proposals, but that only Majestic and TSG Asset Holding engaged in the proposal process. 

“Telski was found not to adhere to minimum standards,” Eckert said. “Majestic Skies adheres to the minimum standards.”

Because Majestic Skies does adhere to the minimum standards for operating an FBO at Montrose Regional Airport, the county can negotiate a contract with the firm regarding its bid to run an FBO. 

Although it is unclear if or when FBO negotiations would take place, discussion – and decision-making – must be completed in a public forum.

 

Look for a full story covering Tuesday’s hearing in the Jan. 23 edition of The Watch.

 

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