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Airport Authority approves mineral lease

WILLIAMSTOWN — The Wood County Airport Authority approved a mineral lease during Tuesday’s meeting which would allow for drilling for natural gas.

Although contingent on the approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and meeting the market value requirements, the airport would partner with Tri-River Contractors LLC to search for gas on the property.

“This has been a negotiation going on the last three months. We hope we do come to a deal,” Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport manager Glen Kelly said. “It would mean that we would get a percentage of the profits from that and the percentage that we put forward is 15 percent.”

Negotiations are still underway but Kelly said the airport could use those potential profits for improvements around the property.

“That would give us additional revenue stream to fix up the infrastructure, the roofs, (and) maybe prepare stuff for a flight school. My biggest concern is maintaining the infrastructure that we have,” Kelly said.

Also discussed during Tuesday’s meeting was the usage of funds given by the Wood County Commission, fuel sales and other airport business.

The Wood County Commission gave the airport $50,000 which will be used for an erosion study.

“We’ve got an outlet where a lot of the water comes off the field and it’s eroding and we need to figure out how to fix that most effectively,” Kelly said.

Kelly is preparing a bid packet for the military fuel contract which could affect sales.

“It entails working up some competitive numbers that allow you to keep up the military fuel contract. They wouldn’t be able to fuel here if we weren’t able to get it. It only comes up about once every three years,” he said.

With fuel sales accounting for about 15 percent of the airport business, Kelly said it’s important to make sure the numbers within the contract are where they need to be.

“(We) have to figure all the different factors and costs and make it low enough that you keep it but high enough that you make money,” Kelly said.

For the month of December, there were 252 enplanements and 19,797 gallons of fuel sold.

Despite a ground incident causing a couple of flight cancellations, Contour Airlines is still operating at a 96 percent completion rate.

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