Middletown council OKs airport’s new self-service fuel station

Middletown Regional Airport will have a new amenity for area aviators — a self-service fuel pump.

Middletown City Council approved a pair of emergency ordinances to authorize contracts to purchase a U-Fuel self-serve low lead aviation fueling system and hire a contractor to install it. These were the next steps to upgrade the airport as the city takes over as the airport’s fixed-base operator.

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In his report for the funding request, Matt Eisenbraun, assistant economic development director, said city staff began reviewing opportunities for the purchase and installation for a self-serve fuel system as part of an overall review of operations.

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“The U-fuel system was chosen as low cost and the system was recommended by two of the three installers that were contacted by staff as part of the follow-up to the original quotes,” Eisenbraun said.

He said U-Fuel was also the recommendation of the current fuel supplier, AvFuel, when staff began gathering background information.

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Eisenbraun said the project was originally planned for mid to late 2019, but there were some delays. He said city staff re-engaged with U-Fuel, which agreed to move the project forward with the original quoted price of $71,477 if council approved the funding by Dec. 31.

The second emergency ordinance was to contract with Reliable Construction to install the self-serve fueling system for $55,000, which was the original quote from earlier this year.

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“Reliable Construction was recommended by AvFuel as a preferred contractor, and Reliable Construction has performed work at the airport previously,” Eisenbraun said.

He added that Reliable Construction submitted the low bid of those that provided for installation of systems that were not provided by the installer as part of an all-inclusive quote. Like U-Fuel, Reliable also agreed to honor its original quoted price for installation, Eisenbraun said.

The installation has a 12-week lead time for the system to be delivered, which should be in mid-March, he said.

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Before council voted on the emergency ordinances that took immediate effect, resident Kent Keller II questioned the need for such a system.

“Why would we invest in a declining market?” Keller asked. “Installing a new pump won’t increase sales.”

Keller said council should pause and let the new council that takes office Wednesday make the final decision.

When the ordinances were being considered for approval, Councilman Joe Mulligan responded to Keller’s comments.

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“This is part of a plan over many months or years to upgrade the Middletown facility,” Mulligan said. “We have a new master plan coming out and we want this to be a first-class operation. This is just one more tool in the toolbox.”

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Eisenbraun said the improvements also include fulfilling a long-time request by both based and transient users, members of the city Airport Commission, and other stakeholders at the airport to acquire self-service fuel facilities.

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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.

The airport is in the process of installing a self-service low lead aviation fueling station for 2020.

SOURCE: City of Middletown

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