Officials at Florida’s Destin Fort Walton Beach Airport and the owners of Destin Jet, one of two FBOs on the field, are working to resolve a dispute involving county anti-trust safeguards and FAA grant assurance violations that resulted when the owners of Destin Jet allegedly purchased rival provider Regal Air Destin at the end of last year and continued to operate both facilities without notifying the airport authority. The allegations were first reported in the Northwest Florida Daily News, and according to Okaloosa County airports director Sunil Harman, airport users raised a flag after noticing a lack of competition between the two facilities over the past several months.
Sterling Diversified, which lists Destin Jet primary owner Jay Odom as its registered agent and manager, bought Regal Air Destin LLC on Dec. 31, 2013, according to the county. Sterling countered stating it had purchased only managing control of Regal Capital LLC, a separate legal entity that happens to be the owner of single-member LLC Regal Air Destin.
Odom told AIN that under the structure of the lease, his legal council believed there was no reason to notify the county and that there was no attempt on his part to conceal the purchase. The ownership of Sterling Diversified has apologized “for any issues” and is retroactively seeking county approval for its purchase. The airport authority agrees that fuel sales data suggest the airport cannot support two FBOs, and the two sides are engaged in amicable discussions, Harman told AIN. An FAA review of the matter is expected before a decision to merge the two locations is made.