The right flight path

It’s welcome news for West Star Aviation and the local economy that the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority on Tuesday agreed to move forward with a financial agreement that should allow West Star to expand and create up to 150 new jobs.

Members of the airport authority looked carefully at the proposed agreement, as well they should, because it requires a substantial commitment from the airport.

But we believe, like many others, that the airport and the community will see a return on that investment far beyond the direct financial repayment.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, West Star must obtain construction financing to build an $8 million paint hangar at the airport. Once it is built, the airport authority would purchase it from West Star using bond financing, then lease it back to the company.

West Star plans to use the paint hangar to perform repainting and refurbishing of private jets. It will be one of the few facilities in the country able to do such work.

As a result, the facility will not only produce good-paying jobs, it will attract well-heeled jet owners and flight crews to this community, people who will spend money while they are here.

There are, however, a number of important financial steps that must be met over the next couple months for the project to move ahead as planned. But the conditional approval by the airport authority this week was critical in enabling the financial negotiations to continue.

We hope those negotiations proceed smoothly and West Star is able to begin construction on the project next spring. And we applaud the airport authority for taking the time and interest to carefully examine the proposal over the past few months, then unanimously approve it this week.


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