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Airport board negotiating to change managers
MidCoast Regional Airport Back
The tarmac for small plans runs right up to the back of the MidCoast Regional Airport lobby. - photo by File photo

The MidCoast Regional Airport Local Joint Management Board met Tuesday to discuss who will be awarded its fixed-base operator management services.
The Federal Aviation Administration defines an FBO as a commercial entity that provides aeronautical services to the public, including fueling, maintenance, storage and ground and flight instruction.
The board voted to authorize Liberty County Development Authority staff to negotiate a three-year contract with Volo Aviation and arrange contract-termination procedures with ABS Aviation Services, the company it currently contracts with on a month-to-month basis to manage the airport. Volo is based out of Stratford, Conn., and ABS is headquartered in Tampa, Fla.
The MCRA board discussed the results of a pricing analysis presented by LCDA staff, and staff’s recommendation to award a one-year contract with two renewable options for FBO management services to Volo Aviation.
Volo Aviation offered MCRA a three-year contract price of $460,289, with a first-year cost of $150,550. ABS Aviation Services estimated a three-year contract price of $512,431 with a first-year cost of $164,575.
Cost was not the only factor MCRA considered in its decision to award airport-management services to Volo Aviation. The board looked at each company’s qualifications and each firm’s plans for airport operation and maintenance, marketing and staffing.
Three companies attended a mandatory pre-proposal conference Aug. 20 at the airport, LCDA staff reported. The LCDA accepted sealed proposals from ABS Aviation Services and Volo Aviation on Sept. 12.
LCDA project coordinator Danielle Hipps said Volo Aviation’s marketing plan named specific trade shows the company attends and provided photographic representations of actions it would take to promote MidCoast Regional Airport.
“Volo was very professional,” Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, a joint management board voting member, said of the company’s presentation. “They had the professional contacts … that, in my opinion, are top rate.”
The mayor said Volo had a fueling contract with Merrill Lynch.
Administration and finance director Carmen Cole said Volo seemed to understand the Liberty County community, and the company expressed its intent to get involved in the local community.
MCRA advisory board member and Liberty County Administrator Joey Brown said current airport employees should be given proper consideration during the FBO change. Thomas agreed and said that could be written into the contract.
Brown suggested staff establish a timeline for transitioning the airport from the present FBO to the new one. Cole said ABS Aviation Services should be given a formal 60-day notice.
The Liberty County Board of Commissioners, the city of Hinesville and the Liberty County Development Authority collaborate on overseeing the airport. Liberty County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette and LCDA Chairman Allen Brown also are voting members on the airport’s joint-management board.
In other authority business Tuesday:
• The MCRA board approved a $7,000 biennial contract for auditing services with Karp, Ronning & Tindol CPAs, and approved hiring Thigpen, Lanier, Westerfield & Deal to prepare the airport’s 2013 annual financial statements for a $3,000 fee.
• The board also authorized staff to solicit prices from gutter-installation companies for gutter installation at the airport because of water damage to the floors at MCRA.
• Airport board members discussed saving costs on a proposed project to install new flooring at the airport. Staff will look into bidding out labor and check into prices for ordering tiles and other materials directly. The board also discussed replacing two of four computers at the airport.

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