Several aircraft await repairs on Friday in a maintenance hangar at Florence Regional Airport. This particular aspect of airport operations will be taken over by Precision Air on March 1.
FLORENCE, S.C. – Under the terms of a contract that will take effect Tuesday, the Pee Dee Regional Airport Authority will be paid $77,000 annually for 15 years for use of the general aviation component at Florence Regional Airport.
Leasing the fixed-base operations is Precision Air Inc., which has its principal office in Manning and acts as the fixed-base operator at the Santee Regional Airport under a long-term contract with Clarendon County. Precision Air is also a subsidiary of Tumeq LLC, an Alaskan native company.
Sam Boyle, the chief executive officer of Tumeq LLC, said the general aviation component of the airport is underused.
“And there’s opportunity to grow,” he said. “We want to grow the services and service larger aircraft. It’s a very nice airport with long runways.”
Last fall the authority put out requests for proposals for contracting with a third party to handle fixed-base operations – ground handling, maintenance and fueling – with the idea that an independent entity could be more efficient and better equipped to turn a profit.
The general aviation component of Florence Regional Airport will be controlled by Precision Air on March 1 under a 15-year lease.
One of the stipulations of the contract has Precision Air being responsible for the costs associated with building a new fuel farm within two years, as fuel sales will likely be the primary revenue driver. The airport authority will be responsible for removing the current 40,000-gallon fuel farm and any associated remediation costs.
Boyle said he thinks construction for the new fuel farm will get done “relatively quickly” and he doesn’t foresee that project taking “very long.”
For each gallon of fuel sold, Precision Air will pay .06 cents under the fuel flowage fee; after a five-year period, that fee can be renegotiated based on market conditions, the contract shows. Precision Air will also pay 3 percent of all gross revenues, fees and charges derived from the provision of aircraft airframe and engine maintenance and repair as well as line (ground) services, whether provided by Precision Air or subcontracted.
Leased premises include six aircraft shade hangars, 22 small T-hangars and eight large T-hangars. For aircraft storage, maintenance, servicing and fueling facilities, Precision Air will be in charge of a 12,000-square-foot maintenance hangar; a 2,500-square-foot terminal area; the 40,000-gallon fuel farm; a 60,000-square-foot transient aircraft parking apron; an 8,000-square-foot aircraft hangar and a 7,200-square-foot hangar with adjoining office building. An additional 8,000-square-foot storage/maintenance hangar and use of the adjacent parking apron are included.
Basic services Precision Air is expected to provide for 16 hours a day and seven days a week include aircraft marshaling, ramp parking, baggage handling, tie-down services and equipment, nitrogen services for tires, catering services, mobile ground power assistance, aircraft lavatory and cabin cleaning services, aviation grade in-flight oxygen refills, passenger and crew customer service assistance and support to include rental car and ground transportation service and aircraft storage.
Under the contract Precision Air has the option to provide, via a third party, flight training and ground school, aircraft rental and chartering, and the sale of aircraft and avionics parts and accessories.
“It’s all up in the air” as to what services may be provided or facilitated, Boyle said. “We’re still trying to figure out the best way to implement those things and we kind of want to take it one step at a time.”
The general aviation component of Florence Regional Airport will be controlled by Precision Air at the beginning of next month under a 15-year lease with Precision Air.
After five years, the rent will increase by 3 percent; another 3 percent increase will take effect in 2026.
Glen Greene, chairman of the airport authority, said Friday that the 15-year term was at least partly driven by the authority but was the best one available for potential lessees as seen during the request-for-proposals period. There’s no timetable or discussion as of yet about how much or how long it will take to remove the fuel farm, but he’s open to pursuing grants to offset costs.
“We’ll have to put it out for bid,” he said. “I don’t anticipate any problems there.”
While the fixed-base operator will operate independently, it’s still part of the airport, he said.
“We need to be good business partners and they need to be good business partners,” he said. “We anticipate it being a beneficial relationship.”
Boyle, for his part, is optimistic about the potential of the fixed-base operations at Florence Regional Airport.
“We certainly want to see economic growth across the board,” he said.
Original article can be found here: http://www.scnow.com