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Willmar Community Development Committee recommends terminating FBO contract

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Community Development Committee during its Thursday meeting recommended the Willmar City Council terminate the fixed-base operator contract with Brian Negen of Maximum Cruise Aviation. The full council will take the issue u...

Brian Negen
Brian Negen, who owns Maximum Cruise Aviation, has been the fixed-base operator at the Willmar Municipal Airport for several years.

WILLMAR - The Willmar Community Development Committee during its Thursday meeting recommended the Willmar City Council terminate the fixed-base operator contract with Brian Negen of Maximum Cruise Aviation. The full council will take the issue up at its June 6 meeting.
While proof of insurance was obtained by the Willmar Planning and Development Department, director Bruce Peterson said it seemed the policy did not meet liability limits that are part of the fixed-base operator agreement. City Clerk Kevin Halliday still needs to review the policy.
“One area is definitely deficient in coverage,” Peterson said.
Peterson also presented a letter the Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics sent to Negen, telling Negen that because his insurance policy had been canceled, his commercial operator’s license had been revoked.
Without the license, Negen is not allowed to provide maintenance operations or rent and lease aircraft. If he does, it would be a misdemeanor, Peterson said.
Another concern has been fuel availability at the airport. Earlier this week the airport was out of jet fuel for an entire day, Peterson said. Many turbine aircraft, including the Life Link air ambulances, use jet fuel, Peterson said.
Negen was not in attendance at the meeting Thursday, though he had been invited.
“If he was intent to stay FBO, he would be here,” said Airport Commission Chairman Pat Curry.
The Airport Commission discussed the matter earlier this week at its meeting, and Curry and Commissioner David Little attended the committee’s meeting Thursday.
The Tribune attempted to contact Negen on Thursday evening after the meeting but was unsuccessful.
“In opinion of staff, we’re not making any progress. My concern going forward is we are not going to see any changes,” Peterson said.
Council members on the committee wanted to see the airport go forward.
“We need to take the appropriate steps now, so we can get the airport where we want it to be. I don’t know if we can afford to give him a second chance now,” Councilwoman Audrey Nelsen said.
“It is time for a change,” Councilman Rick Fagerlie said.
Peterson said the city will be able to provide the fuel needed at the airport until a new fixed-base operator can be put into place. He also said the city needs to have someone at the airport who can provide aircraft maintenance.
“I’m sorry to see it has gone on this long. We wanted to give him every opportunity,” Peterson said.

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Handling of FBO contract concerns airport commissioners

Related Topics: WILLMAR CITY COUNCIL
Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email slindrud@wctrib.com or direct 320-214-4373.


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