The Fayette Citizen-News Page
Friday, March 5, 1999
Airport Authority hears competition complaint

Staff Writer

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The Peachtree City Airport Authority acted Wednesday to set fees for commercial enterprises that use the airport, but some independent aircraft repair facilities have asked for a hearing on "competition" from the authority's fixed-base operations (FBO) maintenance service.

The authority decided some time ago to "clarify" its fee structure, said airport manager Jim Savage, and this week's vote set the fee structure and caps for both on-airport users and those located on private property that accesses Falcon Field. Both will pay 2 percent of "gross revenues generated" from commercial enterprises, up to a maximum of 50 cents per square foot of business area, Savage said. Authority member David Good abstained from the vote because he is an off-airport user.

Ken Justice of Justice Aircraft Maintenance had asked the authority for time on the April agenda to discuss "direct competition from a government-run" facility that "interferes with private enterprise," according to a letter from Justice to Savage. Justice spoke at Wednesday's meeting, saying that the fee structure was related to what he wanted to discuss. Leo Giles, owner of the hangar in which Justice and two other commercial facilities are located, said that facing "competition on the field from our own authority" needed to be discussed by the authority.

Authority chairman Robert Patterson said that "the bottom line is that we have to generate enough revenue to run the airport." Savage said later that the goal of running the FBO, selling aircraft fuel and opening a maintenance facility "is so that Falcon Field can become self-sufficient." At present the authority depends on a share of the city's hotel-motel tax for debt service and operations, he added.

"We are competing with the private maintenance facilities, but I don't think it's a problem, since we have to make sure there is enough revenue to provide an airport where you can locate your repair business," Savage commented. "The goal is that enough people will use Falcon Field that everybody has more than enough customers. Our per-hour charges for repairs are at the moment higher than the private firms charge."

The authority also approved allowing Patterson to complete paperwork for a federal grant of about $250,000 to start engineering work and clearing and grading for developing the southeast end of the airport. Authority member David Good commented that the FAA should know that a 1.8-acre parcel still must be acquired to complete the expansion, but Patterson said that "phase one" of the development "takes place entirely on our property."

The authority delayed consideration of proposals from PRAD Construction and from Group VI for building a restaurant at Falcon Field. Patterson said the authority needed to wait until after the city retreat March 19-20 to obtain an answer on "what revenues we can expect from the hotel-motel tax in the next seven or eight years," before committing to a contract to build a restaurant.

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