Airport commission votes for more insurance

Friday, July 27, 2012

BERRYVILLE -- An increase in insurance coverage will solve several problems for the Carroll County Airport Commission.

At a meeting Thursday at noon, the commissioners looked at deficiencies in current policies. The most glaring problem involved the fuel tank, which was not covered at all. If a pilot failed to ground his aircraft when fueling, a major liability could ensue.

Even in areas already covered by insurance, the limits of the policy were $500,000 per incident and $750,000 per year. Planes worth more than that already land at the airport, and extending the runway could allow larger and more expensive planes to land.

The commissioners voted to spend an additional $2,300 to raise the coverage to a million dollars. This coverage satisfies the requirements of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a company which plans to have rental vehicles available at the airport.

The new policy also meets the requirements of Shell Aviation Fuel, and the commission signed a contract with that company to become the exclusive supplier of fuel at the airport. Fuel sales have risen to some 30,000 gallons per year, and that amount is expected to keep rising.

The arrangement with Shell will have a number of benefits. The airport will be able to order more fuel at once, and the price should be better than under current negotiations, in which the airport can only afford limited purchases. Shell will also provide a $50 million insurance override, which CCAC Chairman Dave Teigen called "absolutely fantastic."

Shell will also provide a shelter over the fuel tank, and will help to promote the airport, especially through the internet. Pilots buying fuel here will have the assurance of buying a product with name recognition.

The arrangement with Shell will take about 60 days to complete.

The current budget did not cover the additional $2,300, and the commissioners voted to pay for the insurance from funds intended as matching funds for grants.

Since those funds could otherwise be used for 90/10 or 80/20 matching grants, the commissioners hope the 2013 budget will include enough for the higher insurance coverage.

In other business:

* The commission will seek a grant to survey the perimeter of the airport as part of a project to fence the airport against deer intrusion. The project will require obtaining easements from property owners in some cases, to allow mowing a swath five feet wide on the far side of the fence.

* A sprinkler system is now in place around the terminal. The commissioners were able to obtain supplies at a wholesale discount, and saved about $9,000 in labor by doing the work themselves.

* The commissioners looked at some areas of the bylaws which will need to be updated. For example, the current bylaws still call for meetings to be held in a building on the south side of the runway, not the new terminal.

* The airport layout drawing also needs updating, to comply with requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration.

* The commissioners voted to purchase a dozen solar-powered lights to illuminate a taxiway. The lights will replace 19 lights which suddenly stopped working, while the problem is identified and corrected.

* Plans were discussed for a fly-in Sept. 8. A cajun feast is planned, and the event will be dedicated to the original founders of the airport. A fly-in event is also planned for Aug. 19, for the Experimental Aircraft Association of Springdale.

* During public comments, Al Iller commended former airport manager Perry Evans for his efforts during a fly-in on the Memorial Day weekend. Evans helped pilots who needed fuel during the event, which helped raise some $9,000 to benefit Wounded Warriors.

The commission will next meet at noon on Aug. 16.

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