Changes in service could come with new private terminal

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A new multimillion dollar terminal for private aircraft is coming to the Fort Wayne International Airport.  On one hand, there’s competition to manage the new private terminal at FWA, which leaders say is good for the consumer.  But the company currently in charge thinks a possible change in responsibility makes for a far less attractive option.

Leaders say it’s part of a master plan to eventually expand the airport by adding a couple new gates.

Representatives from four private companies asked questions and took a tour of FWA Tuesday morning.  They’re potential bidders to manage the new facility.

Atlantic Aviation is the current Fixed Based Operator (FBO). It’s in charge of fuel and maintenance for all aircraft and also rents its own terminal for private jets.

Atlantic’s leasing agreement, dating back to the mid 80’s, is up in 2016.  The company is now a potential bidder in what could be a different responsibility: managing the new facility, instead of leasing it.  The change in responsibility could also mean a change in fee structures, which could mean less money for the company’s bottom line.

“You move from a position of having ownership and incentive and being vested in the future growth of the operation and the community to being a hired hand whose paid a fee on a short term basis to provide them those services,” said Clive Lowe, senior vice president for Atlantic Aviation.  “Typically that’s not an attractive option for the major FBO operators.”

Still the airport authority said it’s considering the option to try and ensure the best services.

“This is not a process that we’re doing to try to recover and gain additional money,” said Scott Hinderman, executive director of Fort Wayne airports.  “We are just looking at the three different methodologies of providing services.  We’re going to have to decide which one we’re going to do.  And in order to decide, we’re going to have to fully evaluate all three.”

The other two options the Airport Authority is considering include having a company come in to build or occupy the space, or doing everything itself without a private company.  Currently, it’s only looking for proposals to manage the new facility.

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