Middletown to consider self-service fueling at airport as it takes over operations

Middletown City Council Tuesday will consider a large supplemental appropriation for Middletown Regional Airport as the city continues its plan to take over the fixed-based operator operations at the end of the year. FILE PHOTO
Middletown City Council Tuesday will consider a large supplemental appropriation for Middletown Regional Airport as the city continues its plan to take over the fixed-based operator operations at the end of the year. FILE PHOTO

Middletown City Council will consider spending $150,000 to set up and maintain a self-serve fueling system at the Middletown Regional Airport as the city prepares to take over airport operations.

The self-serve fueling service is one of multiple steps the city must take to prepare for its takeover on Jan. 1, including setting up office space and performing a recertification of fueling tanks and fueling system. The city council will discuss it at its meeting tonight.

The city notified the current operator, Start Aviation, that it would not renew its contract when it expires Dec. 31. Start Aviation is affiliated with Start Skydiving, one of the airport’s tenants, and has an ongoing dispute with the city over a hangar lease that has lasted for more than a year. Start Aviation has been the airport’s operator for more than 10 years.

“The city chose to take over as (operator) after receiving numerous service complaints from pilots who were unable to get their planes fueled or serviced because the line services personnel were busy supporting the skydiving operations,” said Matt Eisenbraun, assistant economic development director.

“We want the FBO to be more customer focused so we can attract more transient users who want traditional core airport services.”

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The city will spend $15,000 for the cleaning and recertification of the fuel tanks and fueling system as it takes over operations and sets up the self-serve fueling. The city prefers a self-serve model because it saves the costs of an attendant and allows pilots to refuel whenever they would like.

The new self-serve system will cost $75,000 and another $50,000 for engineering and installation.

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The city will likely set up temporary quarters to run its operations beginning Jan. 1 at an estimated cost of $9,000 from Jan. 1 thorugh June 30. Those costs include utility, telephone, web, and security installation costs.

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Fast facts about Middletown Regional Airport/Hook Field

The general aviation airport features the longest uncontrolled asphalt runway in Ohio at 6,100 feet. It is the longest runway in Butler and Warren counties and is one of the longest in southwest Ohio.

The airport’s main runway can accommodate jet aircraft as large as a Boeing 757.

There is also a 3,040 foot turf runway at the airport.

The airport also offers private, commercial and helicopter pilot training.

It is the home of Start Skydiving and Team Fastrax.

Approximately 110 aircraft are based at Middletown Regional Airport which logs more than 40,000 aircraft operations annually and sells 400,000 gallons of aviation fuel each year. The airport is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The airport contains 13 city-owned buildings that consists of 66 T-Hangar units, two 50 foot by 50 foot aircraft hangar units, an 8,000 square-foot Terminal Building, a 24,000 square-foot maintenance hangar, and 39,000 square feet of corporate/community hangar space. The city also owns and operates a 40,000 gallon above ground aviation fuel storage facility