Rule change fuels delay of airport’s discussion

Aero Fuel owners Betsy Kirschbaum and Phil Smith hoped to work toward a solution on their proposed fuel-tank expansion at the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority meeting
Tuesday night. Instead, their proposal was put on the shelf.

Airport authority commissioners were slated Tuesday to discuss changes to the minimum standards for self-service fueling stations, such as Aero Fuel. However, new Transportation Security Administration regulations proposed to take effect April 1 would require escorts for every plane fueling at commercial airports, which would make the airport’s standards moot.

As a result, discussion of the minimum standards was put on hold until the TSA makes a decision about the escorts.

Aero Fuel submitted its business proposal to add a second fuel tank that houses Jet-A fuel to the city’s public works and planning department in June. Aero Fuel had been told a decision on the additional tank will not be made until new minimum standards for operation are in place at the airport, Kirschbaum said.

“At this point our recommendation is to table this until we find out a little more about what the regulations will require,” authority board member Denny Granum said.

All the entities required to approve Aero Fuel’s project, except for the Airport Authority, have done so, Kirschbaum said.

Grand Junction Regional Airport director of aviation Rex Tippets said the proposed TSA changes would have a massive effect on general aviation.

Pilots landing in Grand Junction can now refuel any time at self-service stations without the aid of an attendant. Under the proposed regulations, those pilots would be at the mercy of fuel stations’ schedules.

“They’re going to kill (general aviation),” Tippets said.


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