Airport Business

JUN-JUL 2014

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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TENANT RELATIONS By Douglas Wilson Who Should Own an FBO? There's no right answer in the publicly or privately held FBO debate. What works in one community may not work well in another, and each community's unique needs must determine who owns the FBO Briefly in the case, the landlord—the Chattanooga Airport Authority—had built an FBO in competition with its tenant, the privately owned and operated TAC Air facility. The airport authority-owned FBO, the oper- ation of which was contracted out to Wilson Air Center, was purportedly created to spur competition. Bittersweet to TAC Air, the air- port authority's FBO operated at a loss—there simply wasn't enough revenue for two FBOs. It's hard to imagine then, the irony was not lost on them when only months later the airport authority purchased the TAC Air facility for $12.4 million. Now that it owns both FBOs, it would appear that competition isn't that important to the Chattanooga Airport Authority after all: It is revenue. Perhaps it is a reflection of the partisan nature of politics, but divisive questions about the nature of airport owned-or-operated FBOs ripple through the aviation community in the wake of the Chattanooga experience: Is provid- T he Battle of Chattanooga. Brother against brother—the blue and the gray. Its outcome would decide the rights of government, the states, and ultimately, the will of the people. This isn't a Ken Burns dramatization of the Civil War, but exactly 150 years to the month in the same city, another battle was decided as pivotal to Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) and air- ports, as the Chattanooga campaign was to the North and the South: The FAA ruled in favor of the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport/Lovell Field Airport Authority in a Part 16 complaint by incumbent FBO TAC Air. 18 airportbusiness June/Jul y 2014 airb_18-19_TenantRelations.indd 18 6/16/14 4:22 PM

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