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AWAITING CONTRACT, COMPANY WITHDRAWS SUPPORT OF AIR SHOW

The Spanish company poised to take over the Niagara Falls International Airport for 99 years has withdrawn its support of the air show being held at the Niagara Falls Airbase this weekend.

Cintra Niagara did not fulfill its $10,000 commitment after its Spanish parent company decided not to spend more money in Niagara Falls until it learns whether the FAA will approve its lease contract, said spokesman Earl Wells.

"Ultimately, a business decision had to be made," Wells said.

The air show will proceed as planned, according to organizers.

Cintra's parent company has already spent more than $1 million pursuing the airport deal, including expenses for lawyers, consultants and an environmental study, Wells said.

The contract that Cintra negotiated with the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority remains under review by federal authorities, with no date set for a decision.

Cintra's reversal should not be considered a sign of the company's commitment toward the proposed airport lease, Wells said. "If the FAA ultimately grants its approval, which we're confident they will, I'm sure Cintra will give the air show every consideration next year," he said. "It's a natural partnership."

The NFTA, which has owned the airport since 1968, has decided to lease it to Spanish conglomerate Cintra Concesiones de Infrastructuras de Transporte for 99 years. Cintra Niagara is the subsidiary designated to handle the airport.

Under the contract, Cintra would cover the airport's operating costs and invest at least $10.1 million in the first 13 years. Cintra would not have to pay rent unless more than 450,000 passengers passed through its doors. Last year, the count was about 2,500.

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