REDMOND, OR -- Redmond City Councilors are expected to accept a deal Tuesday, allowing Leading Edge Aviation to expand to Roberts Field. City Manager Keith Witcosky says the five-year deal would create more options for current airport users, and attract new ones. "Basically what it does, is it brings another fixed base operator onto the airfield, so customers and consumers have choices now about where they’re going to be getting their fuel from, or where they’re going to have their planes maintained. It just brings another choice to the airfield."
Airport Manager Jeff Tripp says if the deal is approved, Leading Edge would compete with the current fixed-base operator, Butler Aircraft. "We have a diverse range of customers. We have our business and corporate aviation clients, we have the airlines, we have the USFS and we also have the recreational pilot community, so we have a large number of different customers that have different needs. Hopefully, providing the additional services will draw additional customers to the airport, whether they’re recreational customers or aviation businesses that wish to start operations here."
Leading Edge CEO, Keith Watson, says expanding to Redmond was a logical step. "We see it as a great opportunity to expand. It’s the only, in our mind, legitimate commercial airport in Central Oregon. Its infrastructure suits our vision for expansion, completely, so that impacted our decision to come here."
If approved, the new contract will take effect Wednesday, although Watson says it will take about a month to get equipment in place and operations up and running. Leading Edge expects to eventually offer fueling, aircraft storage, maintenance and on-demand charters from the north side of the airfield.