Atlantic Aviation has threatened to pull back on $2 million worth of investments at Four Corners Regional Airport unless the city revises its minimum
Atlantic Aviation has threatened to pull back on $2 million worth of investments at Four Corners Regional Airport unless the city revises its minimum standards for the facility. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)
FARMINGTON — The fate of about $2 million in private investment at Four Corners Regional Airport could rest with proposed revisions to the airport's minimum standards of operation.

The revisions, requested by Atlantic Aviation, include rights to subcontract aircraft maintenance, flight instruction and chartering services. Farmington's Airport Advisory Commission, however, voted not to approve the changes at its April 17 meeting.

A group of community pilots is also opposing the proposed revisions and is engaged in informal talks with the company.

"There's an ad hoc association of local general aviation (pilots)," said Mayor Tommy Roberts in a phone interview on Wednesday. "They have taken the position that the standards should not be revised."

A spokesman for the informal group could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The airport's minimum standards were adopted by a city council resolution in 2006.

According to a letter dated April 2 that was sent from Atlantic Aviation regional manager Jeff Morse to airport manager Todd Gressick, Atlantic Aviation subcontracted aircraft maintenance and flight instruction services before the airport's minimum standards were adopted. The letters also states that the ability to subcontract is "grandfathered."

"Until ...

Advertisement

it is confirmed that (the grandfather policy) shall continue to apply to Atlantic Aviation ... (the company) cannot finalize a new lease containing a large financial commitment," the letter states.

The minimum standards were reviewed by the city's Airport Advisory Commission for six months, Gressick said.

"After an extended period, the (commission) said it was best to stick with the current version," he said.

Atlantic Aviation operates the business terminal at Four Corners Regional Airport, Gressick said. It provides charter aircraft service, flight instruction, fueling and maintenance.

In spite of the stagnated talks, Morse said that Atlantic Aviation continues to be interested in making the investment.

"Atlantic Aviation is considering making a substantial investment in our current (facility)," Morse said in a phone interview Wednesday evening. "We continue to be optimistic that (the city) will work with us on our desires to make an investment."

According to the April 2 letter, Atlantic Aviation's current plans are to spend about $2 million over the next five years to buy the BISTI fuel farm, install a self-serve tank and make improvements to the Atlantic Aviation Terminal and hangars.

One city councilman, however, said news of the negotiations and potential investment should have been brought to the city council's attention sooner.

"What we're doing isn't working," said Councilman Jason Sandel in a Wednesday phone interview. "By approving the minimum standards as they are, to me that is failing our community. For there to be a $2 million investment to be sitting on the table and for council to not be informed is negligence on behalf of the city administration. I'm not saying that Atlantic (Aviation) is perfect but to just allow them to fall off ... there's a $2 million investment out the window. We need to elevate these discussions. It's the taxpayers' airport."

Greg Yee can be reached at gyee@daily-times.com; 505-564-4606. Follow him on Twitter @GYeeDT.