Logan-Cache Airport in Utah Rejects Idea to Sell Buildings

The board that runs the Logan-Cache County Airport rejected a suggestion Tuesday that it consider selling off buildings and its "fuel farm."

Steven Thompson, a Logan City Council member and chairman of the airport authority advisory board, said the idea had been proposed by Steve Miller, a board member who was not at Tuesday's meeting.

Several board members said it would not make sense for the airport authority - jointly owned by the city and county - to divest itself just as the airport is poised to encourage and accommodate economic growth.

"It's a question of strategic planning and strategic owning," said Rick Charles, who runs Utah State University's flight school at the airport.

Airport Manager Richard Stehmeier agrees. "The more structures the airport owns the more we control our destiny," he said.

Lynn Lemon, the county executive and a board member, said the authority should perhaps get out of the fuel-tank business as old tanks are replaced but should continue to control the tank farm where fixed-base operators store their fuel.

The board also responded briefly to a letter from an attorney for one of those two operators, Utah Jet Center.

The operator complained that the other fixed-base operator, Leading Edge Aviation, and USU, which has a flight school, have an unfair competitive advantage because they lease airport buildings at what Utah Jet considers below-market rates. Leading Edge pays a little more than $8,000 for a building, and USU has been paying $10,000.

A fixed-base operator provides fuel and a wide range of services such as towing and mechanical work for pilots who use the airport.

Utah Jet Center spent millions of dollars building its operation in the late 1990s. Both USU and Leading Edge or its predecessors have been at the airport for several years.

The USU contract was recently updated to bring USU in line with market rates over the next 10 years, Stehmeier said. Leading Edge's contract expires next summer, and those lease rates also will be negotiated higher, he said.

The problem with raising them too high, he said, is it could force Leading Edge to leave the airport. That would give Utah Jet Center a monopoly.

Utah Jet Center's attorney, L. Brent Hoggan, wrote in the letter to the board that the company wants the chance to bid for the facilities leased by USU and Leading Edge. The market should establish the commercial rates, Hoggan wrote.

Bill Francis, a long-time user of the airport and for years the unofficial manager, said the airport authority's lease rates are about mid-range for Utah airports.

On another front, the airport, which has undergone millions of dollars in improvements in recent years, is awaiting word from Vision Air, a charter company that is seeking an FAA certificate to offer airline service. If that certification comes through and the airport is also certified by FAA, Vision Air could offer regularly scheduled flights to Logan for the first time.

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