Posted: Wednesday, June 18th 2014 at 10:43pm
FBO management change coming to Habersham airport
By Rob Moore Editor
Habersham County Airport Authority members, from left, Joe Elam, Greg Caudell, Rob Ginn and Mike Moore vote to proceed with negotiating a lease agreement with Blue Sky Aviation to become fixed based operator. (Photo/Rob Moore)
CLARKESVILLE - After two hours in closed session Wednesday night, the Habersham County Airport Authority voted 4-0 to begin the process of changing the management of the county's airport.
Authority member Jay Hughes, who pastors a Cornelia church, was unable to attend due to a conflict with those responsibilities, Vice Chairman Rob Ginn said.
The 4-0 vote was to begin negotiations with Blue Sky Aviation to take over as fixed based operator at the airport, succeeding James Tatum of Habersham Aviation, who has managed the airport for more than 38 years.
"We came out of the executive session where we discussed the lease and some legal issues, and we had our public vote," Ginn said. "It was unanimous to go with Blue Sky Aviation - Ray Reed and his company."
Also during the open meeting, Ginn outlined some of the criteria considered in reaching the decision, including financial aspects, the vision of the airport, and the services provided.
In response to a question from an audience member as the meeting adjourned, Ginn named the other firms who submitted requests for proposals to the authority to become the FBO.
"We had Foothills Aviation, which is Bill Wood," Ginn said. "We had Jim Tatum, and we had Lanier [Flight Center], which is Troy Wheeler."
Ginn said Ray and Brenda Reed of Blue Sky Aviation run a flight instruction program at the airport.
In an impromptu, sit-down interview after the meeting adjourned, Ginn provided further details of the selection.
"This is our first choice of a successor, but it's not a done deal," Ginn said. "If they don't match up with the financial bid that they submitted or things that we need - legal compliance, insurance and other things - then we're going to go down the list and find somebody else."
Authority members Mike Moore and Greg Caudell will begin meeting with Blue Sky Aviation officials next week regarding the lease agreement, Ginn said.
"As soon as we have an agreement of the minds and we can start beginning the legal documents, then if it's acceptable we'll give appropriate notice to the current FBO," Ginn said.
Asked for a timetable, Ginn said, "We're talking probably five or six weeks."
Tatum did not attend Wednesday night's meeting.
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