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"Livermore Looks to Add Services At Airport"



Friday, July 12, 2013

Livermore Looks to Add Services At Airport 
The Livermore (CA) Independent


Livermore will begin negotiating a lease with Five Rivers Aviation, LLC, to
serve as a full service fixed base operator (FBO) at the Livermore Airport.
 
The city council approved the negotiations by a unanimous vote (Laureen
Turner absent). Councilmembers noted that negotiations did not mean a
contract would be signed. Once negotiations are completed, the agreement
will come back to the council for a public hearing.

Karen McMullen, an activist opposed to expansion at the airport, had asked
the council to delay a decision on negotiating a lease until a more fully
noticed public hearing could be held. She pointed out that there had been a
great deal of opposition to any expansion at the airport. She viewed the FBO
as an expansion.

According to airport manager Leander Hauri, the need for an FBO was
identified during the airport master plan update process in 2001. "An FOB
would provide a variety of specialized services expected by the air
community that the Livermore Airport does not provide at this time," he
declared.

In 2010, the city council approved a rezoning of the Airport and approved an
EIR for the airport that examined, at a broad programmatic level,
environmental impacts of the ultimate build-out of the airport development
envisioned by the rezoning. This includes development of a full service FBO,
a new administration building with a restaurant, and future hangar
construction.

A lease was negotiated in 2007 to build the FBO. However, it was never built
because of the recession. A new request for proposals was issued by the
city, which includes the fuel concession. There was one response from Five
Rivers Aviation, LLC.

An FBO would provide a full line of service including fueling, towing,
lavatory and cabin cleaning; catering and concierge services, including crew
support and crew cars; overnight and long-term hangar storage for all
aircraft sizes; and aircraft maintenance, engine overhaul and avionics
installation.

In addition, Five Rivers will offer services to the general public, such as
an aircraft dealership row, charter service support, passenger concierge
services, rental cars, hotel reservations, emergency services and law
enforcement support and additional disaster relief support equipment and
amenities.

Hauri told the council that the airport is the aviation gateway to
Livermore. An FBO will improve the image of the city, contributing to a good
first impression of Livermore.

Hauri said an FBO would allow airport personnel to focus on maintenance of
the airport. He noted that currently inadequate staff time is available to
provide both fueling and airport facility maintenance services, creating a
significant backlog in maintenance projects that must be addressed. Shifting
the workload would increase expenditures by $290,000.

Under the proposed lease, the Airport Enterprise Fund would forfeit
approximately $360,000 in net income as a result of relinquishing the fuel
sales and shifting permanent staff from fueling activities to deferred
maintenance activities. However, according to Hauri the Airport is still
projected to generate a positive cash flow of approximately $260,000 at the
end of the first year of FBO operation.

During the public hearing, McMullen noted that the Livermore Airport
Citizens Group is very opposed to the airport's master plan update and
development at the airport. "You should allow time for citizens to speak on
this issue. An FBO will attract more aircraft."

Her remarks were echoed by Matthew Steinberg. He said that he was attending
the council with his Scout Troop. "This is the first I've heard of an FBO."

It was pointed out that an FBO would mean fewer flights operations at the
airport. Jets don't fly in for service; they are dropping off and picking up
passengers. They fuel up and receive services at other sites. By offering
service, one of the trips could be eliminated.

Hauri was asked if there were data available to support that claim. He said
there wasn't.

One concern raised by Councilmember Bob Woerner was the cost of fuel. He
said it looks like there would be an increase, which will have an impact on
the average pilot.

Hauri said that Five Rivers has agreed to keep prices competitive. In 2012,
the average fill-up cost $136. That would increase by an average of $13
under the lease. The price is comparable to that charged by nearby airports.

Councilmember Stewart Gary asked for a copy of the old master plan,
environmental review and other documents related to changes at the airport.
He also requested a legal review of the rezoning and rulings to determine if
they still stand. He suggested that maintenance should be reviewed to
determine what is the best way to go economically; perhaps it should be
privatized as well.

Councilmember Doug Horner pointed out that the negotiated lease will come
back to the council. "We will hear all of the details, before we agree to
anything."

Under the lease, Five Rivers would construct the FBO building and the
required 25,000 square foot of hangar space in the form of five 4,000 square
foot hangar units and one 5,000 square foot hangar unit.

Five Rivers estimates the development would cost approximately $3 million.
Two modern, compact and self-contained self-serve fueling facilities would
be installed, one each on the north and south side of the airfield. These
facilities would dispense aviation gasoline only (no Jet-A fuel), and would
be accessible on a 24-hour basis.

Five Rivers also proposes to construct additional hangar storage space in
future years through a phased, demand-based approach.

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