-- May 08, 2012 --
Apalachicola Regional Municipal Airport is open for business.....sort-of.
"The service provider the County had in the past is somebody called an FBO, a fixed base operator, who'd, he'd pump fuel, rent the t-hangers, he had some rental cars out there that he'd rent to people who flew in," said Alan Pierce, Franklin County Administrator.
The previous FBO's contract was up in February and his lease on the property ended May 4, 2012. He hadn't ordered fuel for the airport and supplies ran out about three weeks ago.
"The new FBO operator that we have chosen, we are negotiating a proposed lease and we have until Wednesday evening to finalize that. Otherwise we might go out and operate it ourselves," said Pierce.
People in Apalachicola say if this problem isn't resolved soon, the business owners are going to start feeling the effects.
Gary Settle is a realtor in Apalachicola who is also a pilot. He said many visitors and vacation home owners use the airport as their hub into the county.
"Not having that flow of people coming in and staying at hotels, and eating out and stuff can be tough for this local economy which has been hurting, and is just rebounding as now," said Settle.
For now, pilots have to fly to Tallahassee, Panama City, or Blountstown to fuel up.
"It's really kind-of-of inconvenient to have to take off and go somewhere else to fuel if you're going in a different direction, or if you need fuel," said Settle.