Atlantic moves in on the Big Easy

 - March 19, 2008, 12:13 PM

Atlantic Aviation has signed letters of intent to acquire FBOs at two New Orleans airports–Lakefront (NEW) and Louis Armstrong International (MSY), formerly Moisant Field. Terms of the deal for the two FBOs, currently owned by General Aviation Corp., were not released, though the transaction is expected to close within 60 days, following due diligence and airport-authority approval. The MSY facility had recently undergone a $3 million improvement, and Atlantic plans to sink another $2 million into renovating the NEW site. The MSY operation comes with a 30-year lease, while the NEW facility currently operates on a 15-year lease. “We expect to negotiate an extension to that lease as part of our improvement program,” said Sue Sommers, Atlantic v-p of sales and marketing. She added that Atlantic had met with both the Orleans Levee District and American Airports. The two management firms are negotiating for control of the New Orleans airports in a tightly contested privatization process. Sommers said, “We’ve conferred with both parties, and both are excited about Atlantic coming into the lakefront airport. Whichever way the privatization decision goes, we’ll be in a good position.”

Referring to the current situation at NEW, Sommers added, “The current [General Aviation-operated] facility is pretty bad, and aircraft operators really have little option but to go to Million Air [the other FBO on the airport]. Our improvements will offer a clear choice of facilities.”

Atlantic president Lou Pepper added that establishing a presence in the New Orleans market allows Atlantic to “expand our network to a destination city that complements our existing locations.” Atlantic currently operates eight facilities at Bridgeport, Conn. (BDR); Farmingdale, Long Island, N.Y. (FRG); Hartford, Conn. (HFD); Houston Hobby Airport (HOU); Chicago Midway Airport (MDW); Philadelphia International Airport (PHL); Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE); and Teterboro Airport (TEB), N.J.

The two new FBOs will expand the Atlantic chain to 10 sites.