City approves lease agreement with potential new owners of Maine Scenic Airways
Belfast — Belfast officials gave their consent to allow the city to enter into a lease agreement with a couple who are looking to purchase Maine Scenic Airways.
Maine Scenic Airways was owned and operated by Sandy Reynolds before he sold to new owner Brent Andrews. Because the city does not employ anyone to manage the airport on a daily basis, Maine Scenic Airways has served as the Fixed Base Operator for Belfast.
A Fixed Base Operator is a commercial business that is granted the right to operate on the airport, while providing services such as fueling, parking, maintenance, flight instruction and other services.
City Manager Joseph Slocum wrote in his report that Kittredge negotiated a 12-year lease with Andrews that will allow Maine Scenic Airways to use the Fixed Base Operator building, the low hangar and other areas of the airport for their business.
In exchange for use of the airport facilities, Maine Scenic Airways will pay a monthly rent of $500, plus utilities. The lease states the rent will increase 3 percent per year, but allows the lease to be renegotiated after five years.
The lease also requires Maine Scenic Airways to keep liability insurance, at its own expense, for the first three years of the lease in the amount of $500,000.
Speaking to the council Tuesday, Jan. 21, Andrews said he has a number of ideas about expanding the services that are offered at the airport, which include making fuel more readily available and possibly adding jet fuel as well.
He said he would continue to offer flight training and would try to more heavily market the availability of charter flights.
The potential new owners also said they are looking at the possibility of making rental cars available seven days a week at the airport.
Speaking to potentially making jet fuel available at the airport, Andrews noted modern jets are quieter than many propeller planes. He also explained that residents wouldn't be seeing any Boeing 737 jets attempting to land at the airport.
One of his goals, Andrews said, is to attract more people to the area as a way to help boost the local economy.
“People do not realize the economic impact of an airport,” he said.
Maine Scenic Airways can terminate the lease by giving a six month written notice.
Kittredge said in an email to The Republican Journal that Andrews has not finalized the purchase of Maine Scenic Airways, but he said the deal will hopefully be completed within the next few weeks.
In other business
Councilors accepted a $5,000 grant through the Pedestrian, Hiking and Biking Committee that will be used to review “walkability” issues in the city and give recommendations for improvements.
The city waived the normal bidding requirements to allow the police chief to purchase a speed monitor and warning sign. A grant will be used to pay for the new sign and the chief was directed to purchase the new device at a cost not to exceed $5,400.
City officials approved a first reading of a zoning amendment that will allow Maine Maritime Products to serve take-out at its processing and distribution facility in the Belfast Business Park.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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