Houston operator eyes Aspen airport | AspenTimes.com

Houston operator eyes Aspen airport

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

The Aspen-Pitkin County Airport has received its first application for a second fixed-base operator that would be located on the west side of the airport near Owl Creek Road.

Houston-based Landmark Aviation submitted the application, said Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock.

Currently there's just one fixed-base operator at the airport, run by Atlantic Aviation.

A fixed-base operator is a commercial business that operates at an airport and provides aeronautical services such as fueling, hangaring, tie-down and parking, aircraft rental, aircraft maintenance, flight instruction and more.

Landmark's application meets the recommended fixed-base operator guidelines, Peacock said.

"The application we received (from Landmark Aviation) was deemed substantially complete," Peacock said.

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Pitkin County code requires that if a complete application is received for another fixed-base operator, the county will initiate a request for proposal process. However, there are still other steps in the process that need to be completed before the request for proposal begins.

There are design guidelines that need to be completed before any other bids can be accepted and acted upon. Those design guidelines aren't expected to be completed until sometime during the first quarter of 2014, Peacock said.

Once the design guidelines are finished, a request for proposal process will begin, which isn't estimated to happen until the fourth quarter of 2014.

Peacock expects other applications will come in after nearly a dozen other fixed-base operator companies participated or were present during the airport master-planning process.

A committee will be named to evaluate the bids, with lease negotiations to follow. The committee-recommended applications will then go to the Pitkin County commissioners for approval.

The next step will be environmental assessments to the fixed-base operator proposal. If no significant impacts are found, the actual building of the operation system can begin. The estimation for any construction to begin is the third or fourth quarter of 2017.

In an Aspen Times article from December 2012, Fred Mosher, general manager of existing fixed-base operator Atlantic Aviation, expressed concern about divvying up business between two operators in Aspen's seasonal market.

"We're not sure what the outcome will be with a second FBO and a dilution of our business," he said. "I'm hopeful that there could be something else that could perhaps be put on the west side."

mmclaughlin@aspentimes.com