I was Ramp 66’s at Grand Strand Airport’s shop foreman of aircraft maintenance for 10 years and still help them out from time to time. After reading the March 22 editorial “Cleared for Takeoff,” I feel my blood boil. It starts out “While you weren’t looking, Horry County bought an airport.” Yes, they didn’t want you to look, that’s why they postponed readings till after Tom Rice left for Washington.
Mr. Rice had some concerns about the validity of the purchase. I have no ill will against the owners of Ramp 66; they are fine people who have provided many jobs for many people over the years. I feel they are cutting their losses.
Since when does the FAA dictate to a county who they can extend a lease to? They provide subsidies and maintain the navigational aids located on the airport. Ramp 66 had a long-term lease agreement that the county would not renew.
If they would not renew, then it should be put out for bids. What right does a government entity have to operate any business? It should be illegal. They don’t have to look at the bottom line like I do with my business. The writer says it won’t cost the taxpayer anything because it relies on user fees and state and federal grants. Gee, I wonder were that money comes from? As for the revenues, where are they coming up with that number. Is the county going to lease the airport from itself?
From what I know, the county only intends to sell fuel, tie downs and hanger rental. Ramp 66 does that (and already has government fueling contracts) has a maintenance facility and car rental, but does not hit these magical figures. So, let me get this right, they are going to do less, but almost triple revenues. Maybe they can tell me how to do that with my business.
Are they going to promote General Aviation? Just look at the Jetport (MYR) and Conway airports for that answer! Ask any general aviation pilot how they would rate the operation of the county-run fixed base operator at MYR, you won’t like what you hear.
The county is already responsible for maintaining hangers Grand Strand Airport. So why do we all of a sudden get $2 million of facility improvement? Is it to promote aviation like they did at MYR (tongue placed firmly in cheek)? The federal grants would be available regardless of the county operating the FBO.
I have worked at this airport on and off since I was 12 years old. It has been a huge part of my life. To see it taken over by government is nothing short of sad. But, on the bright side, if they don’t make a profit, they can just dig deeper into my pocket (and yours).
So Horry County, would you like to buy a landscaping business?
The writer lives in Little River.