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New contracts given to Chautauqua County airports’ operators

MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Airport in Jamestown will continue to have Jamestown Aviation Co. and Chautauqua Aircraft Sales as the fixed-base operator. The County Legislature approved new contracts with the operators at its meeting on Monday.

The same two companies also operate the county’s other airport at Dunkirk, but that contract was not yet up for renewal.

County Executive Vince Horrigan spoke in favor of the lease, which he said provided a good income for the county.  He said that the 19 jobs at the two airport locations are high-tech in the avionics field.  The county executive is a former U.S. Air Force pilot. 

“The Nalbone family has operated the facility in Dunkirk and has added their services with the operation in Jamestown,” said John Watkins, an airport commission member.   

The legislature also heard from Daniel Reininga of Fredonia, who supported the continued operation of both airports and said they are a benefit to businesses and travel and tourism. “The airports are a vital support to industry,” said Reininga. 

The lease at Jamestown is $1,000 per month with an annual increase of two percent per year, which the fixed-base operators pay to the county.  There is an additional $400 for rent in the former museum area at the airport.  A two percent commission on Jet A fuel costs and one percent on other fuels also are part of the lease. 

An aviation capital agreement will allow the county to accept a $1,203,989 grant for improvements to the runway and apron at the Nalbone Field in Dunkirk.  An additional $66,888 from New York State Department of Transportation was also accepted for the project.  The county’s portion of the project was the same as the DOT contribution. 

“We have to do what’s best for the taxpayers but the ever increasing costs at the airports need to be monitored closely,” said Legislator George Borrello R-Silver Creek.  He said that he believes the county may need to consider getting out of the airport business in the future.