FAA: Santa Rosa County discriminated

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined Santa Rosa County economically discriminated against one of two fixed base operators (FBO) at Peter Prince Field, a small county-owned airport adjacent to Santa Rosa Industrial Park in East Milton.

As a result of the FAA’s determination, the county is required to submit a corrective action plan by June 27. If Santa Rosa County fails to submit a plan deemed acceptable by the FAA, or fails to complete the specified plan, the county faces revocation or denial of federal airport improvement program (AIP) funding.

Randall S. Fiertz, FAA’s director of airport compliance and management analysis, in a March 27 memo, said Santa Rosa County had violated its federal obligations related to AIP funding, resulting from a complaint filed by the airport’s longtime sole FBO, Aircraft Management Services, Inc. (AMS).

AMS’ complaint alleged the county provided “more favorable” lease terms to Milton Aviation Partners, which was issued a lease in April 2011.

The FAA found the county’s argument, that differing lease terms for AMS and MAP were justified, was  “without merit.”

County Attorney Roy Andrews is currently negotiating a corrective action plan with MAP partners. That plan tentatively includes a 10-year sublease to Lifeguard Air Ambulance to provide crew headquarters plus helicopter housing and services.

Read more in the April 30 issue of Navarre Press.

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