When the Minden City Council meets Nov. 6, one item on the agenda could mean big things for the Minden Airport.
According to Airport Manager Steven Burdeaux, the city will be changing fuel service providers to the airport, should the council concur.
“The contracts are ready to be signed, we’re just waiting for Council approval to sign them,” Burdeaux said.
As part of the contract, the new provider would provide a jet fuel truck to the airport, expanding the facility’s offerings to local and transient aircraft.
Currently we have an aviation gas [Avgas] truck that services all the piston engine aircraft,” Burdeaux said. “Piston engine aircraft are smaller aircraft. We can actually move those around as necessary. So we could bring them to the fuel or take them away from the fuel to the parking area.”
Servicing jet burning aircraft is a bit more challenging, Burdeaux said. “[They] are typically larger aircraft — multi-engine aircraft, or helicopters — so it’s more difficult for us or impossible in certain situations for us to get them to the fuel.”
The Minden Airport does not currently have a truck for jet fuel, something that would change with the change in providers. “When it [jet aircraft] is on the stationary location, they have to fire up the engines, move them over to the fuel, then fire them up again to move them away,” he said. “It inconveniences pilots and it puts wear and tear on aircraft.”
Burdeaux said the airport has lost some fueling business as a result of the jet fuel challenge. “[They] go to other airports that do have full service to fuel because that’s just less for them to do — less to worry about.”
“Once we get the jet fuel truck, it will allow us to to attract larger aircraft which obviously means more flowage, and more potential profit,” he said.
“In addition to that, I would like to make sure that the military are aware of the fact that we will have a full service jet fuel truck at that point because we have lost business in the past.”
But the change in providers is not just about a jet fuel truck, but about overall savings for the city in the deal.
“We’ll also be leasing an Avgas truck which will service the smaller aircraft, like the one we already currently lease,” Burdeaux said. “It’s going to be a newer truck and also be cheaper so [we will be] saving money while still making money.”
If approved by the Council, things will kick into high gear for the switch over. “Once all that is in place, and we sign the contracts and start rebranding, we will get the jet fuel truck pretty soon after that. That should improve our fuel sales.”
Getting the word out about the additional service will be the next order of business for the airport. “We have several different job websites that advertise fuel,” Burdeaux said. “While the pilots are laying out their routes, they can look at airports along the route and look at the different services, fuel prices, etc. Also, as a part of this deal, the new fuel vendor will be actually helping us to further market the business side of the airport.”
In September the council approved accepting grant money to construct a 3,979-foot parallel taxiway, improving safety by eliminating the need for aircraft to back-taxi on the runway. The money came from a combination of a $3.4 million grant from the FAA and $377,778 from the Louisiana Department of Transportation.
“The parallel taxiway project will start counting days on Nov. 1.,” Burdeaux said. “They’ve already gone out and started surveying and other things.”
The Minden City Council will meet at 7 p.m. on Nov. 6.