Airport Authority Votes To Terminate Airport Operator’s Lease (Updated)

Updated to add councilman Burrell’s comments.

January 11, 2022 Airport Authority meeting.

HANGAR TENANTS BEING EVICTED BY COMPANY

At the end of its January meeting yesterday, the city’s Airport Authority voted unanimously to approve a resolution to terminate its long-time contract with airport operator Contintenal Motors, unless the company rescinded its surprise decision the day before to terminate over 30 leases it had with local citizens for hangar space for storing their planes at the Fairhope airport (effective January 30).

Resloution passed Tuesday: “To terminate the lease with Continental Motors effective January 19th, 5 PM … unless Continental rescinds their letter of cancellation … of all of their lessees’ hangar spaces … sent out yesterday (Jan. 10) … prior to that time.”

Airport attorney Josh Myrick called it potentially a “very serious safety issue, eviciting 30 odd tenants and have their planes scattered all over the airport … .”

RECENT LAWSUIT CITED AS REASON BY COMPANY

In the letter referred to (e-mailed), Continental Motors’ attorneys blamed a lawsuit filed against it by the Authority last month for the situation, calling it “completely without merit” … and asked tenants’ help to “stop this flagrant abuse of the boards’ authority.” (see the letter at bottom).

The letter goes on to say the company will rescind the evictions … if the Authority withdraws its lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges various shortcomings by Continental on its own FBO (fixed base operator) lease agreement, including: failure to secure proper insurance and inadequate fuel farm maintenance; failure to install required office/hangar space; et al.

Also, the Authority’s lawsuit cites Continental’s descision to renege on a mutual agreement dated August 24, 2021 to voluntarily end their operator’s lease on June 30, 2022.

The lawsuit (see below) asked the court to terminate Continental’s lease on June 30, 2022 instead (and vacate premises by the end of the day), pursuant to the prior mutual agreement refferred to.

The Authority’s action Tuesday to immediately termiate the lease seems to have superceded this lawsuit … for the time being.

COUNCILMAN BURRELL’S COMMENTS

During the meeting the city council’s representative on the board, Jack Burell, called the letter to evict “absurd” and asked members of the aviation community present for patience: “this is nothing more, in my personal opinion, a ploy … to drive a wedge between the aviation community and airport authority … an attempt to coerce us into settling this dispute (lawsuit) in a manner not in our best interest … or your best interest … no reason to vacate (evict) given … other than for you to come to us to force settling (the lawsuit) … .”

COMPANY MEETING WITH LESSEES TODAY

Continental Motors has scheduled a “town hall” meeting in its north hangar to discuss the matter with the lessees today, 4:30 PM (Wednesday).

Janauary 10 eviction letter from Continental.

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