Aviation deal fails to take off

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ Staff Writer

A local business owner said a $2 million proposal to purchase an aviation company and hangar at Clovis Municipal Airport has been grounded.

Ted Stallings, owner of the local aviation firm Aero Tech, said he submitted the proposal Sept. 20 to the members of the city of Clovis Civil Aviation Board.

“I had some great plans and great ideas,” Stallings said, “but I just decided it wasn’t the right time (to purchase Blue Sky Aviation).”

The chairman of the airport’s Civil Aviation Board cited personality conflicts between Stallings and airport management for the deal falling apart.

“I’m disheartened,” Chairman Roger Hatcher said, “that personality issues have brought this about.”

Municipal Airport Director Steve Summers said there were many factors involved.
Summers said airport business service operations have to meet certain standards. He said there were issues that needed to be resolved and “a lot of details that had to be worked out in a minimum time.”

Blue Sky Aviation, which is co-owned by Ronald Byrd and Jerry Monk, sells aviation fuel, provides aircraft parking, rents hangar space and serves as a passenger terminal and lounge at the Clovis airport. Byrd said he and his business partner were hoping to sell the aviation business because they have other business interests.

Aero Tech, which Stallings has owned with his wife, Patti, since 1990, provides several aviation services — including aerial surveys, fire control, fertilizing, pest control and charter air transportation.

According to the proposal, Stallings planned to remodel the hangar to make it more aesthetically pleasing, provide fuel at a competitive price, and relocate Aero Tech to the airport from its nearby location.

Stallings said he hired an architect to render drawings of the proposed building plans.

Hatcher said the Civil Aviation Board is still interested in pursuing the deal.

“We are confident about negotiating with them (Stallings) to get the offer back on the table,” Hatcher said.”

Stallings insists there will be no deal.

“I’m just not going to do it (purchase Blue Sky),” Stallings said.

Airport improvements and air service enhancements ranked second on the list of capital outlay priorities by Clovis City Commissioners submitted for consideration in the 2007 New Mexico Legislature. The Civil Aviation Board set the funding request at $4.2 million.

Plans to extend the runway to accommodate larger planes are pending completion of an environmental assessment, Summers told the Clovis News Journal in September. The $2.4 million project is earmarked for 95 percent federal funding, with the city and state splitting the balance.