I wrote here Dec. 5 that Dick Holbert, chief executive of Central Flying Service, had confirmed that a deal was in the work with TAC Air in which TAC, a competing fixed base operator, would take over all line service of fueling at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport from Central and that TAC would take over Central’s hangar leases. the oldest flight service in the state, would continue in operation, but through leases with TAC.
That deal is now reflected in a new agenda item for the Little Rock Airport Commission, which meets Tuesday morning. It contains some changes in lease rates and fuel charges projected to produce increased revenue for the airport.
Central wants to assign its leases to TAC and the Airport Commission approval is required. TAC, a Truman Arnold company, will make airport improvements and also convey a 40-acre pecan grove to the airport to offset $4 million in capital investments by $1.25 million. However, this conveyance could be delayed if some “specific legal issues” related to Central Flying are not resolved. Among Central’s legal problems are lawsuits over the death of four people in a charter flight. The lawsuits allege Central compelled a reluctant pilot to make the flight and the pilot was flying too high for a landing.
Also on agenda some sad news for travelers: American Airlines is ending its nonstop to LaGuardia Airport in New York on March 15. The passenger load, 65 percent of capacity, has been too light to be profitable.
UPDATE: An airport user has studied the proposed deal and questions whether the the provision to allow razing of the former Midcoast Aviation building will make it impossible for a competing fixed base operator to locate at the airport and open the door to landing fees for TAC, something Central had not charged.