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Airport refueler gets overhaul

news@theeveningtimes.com

The West Memphis Airport enjoys the benefits of being a “gas station for the sky.” While the airport is small compared to its next nearest neighbor Memphis International Airport, refueling aircraft provides an income stream for the municipal airport.

Some may be surprised to know jet fuel outsells regular aviation gas (AvGas) at the airport. When the need to upgrade the jet refueling truck came up, the airport commission opted to refurbish the truck to meet new safety standards. The truck got reworked keeping the chassis and the tank.

The airport administration got a surprise though with unexpected repairs. The initial $71,000 estimate ballooned as repairs started.

Unforeseen replacement piping exceeded the pre-approved spending $80,000 limit to over $89,000 according to Mayor Bill Johnson.

“All the plumbing had to be replaced,” Airport Manager Lynda Avery told commissioners during he final meeting before her pending retirement. “We had hoped to rebuild the reel motors but they had to be replaced. There was a whole listing of items needing attention.

We had planned to replace the hose later under normal maintenance but went ahead and replaced all the hoses.”

By doing the hose replacement there and then at the off site maintenance shop saved $1,000 according to Avery.

City Attorney David Peeples brought it to the attention of commissioners during their morning meeting.

“We need to amend the ordinance we have to the $89,798.55 figure we have,” said Peeples.

Commissioners authorized the increase amount and passed it on to City Council when Mayor Bill Johnson explained the need and the City Attorney capsulated the required action in the afternoon.

“It turns out we just had incorrect numbers on it,” said Johnson.

“We are asking you to amend the ordinance to approve

the proper figure,” said Peeples.

By John Rech

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