Decision on Signature HPN Purchase Postponed

 - December 26, 2013, 11:40 AM

Signature Flight Support’s bid to purchase the Jet Systems and Million Air White Plains FBOs at Westchester County Airport stalled when last week’s vote on the transaction by the county board of legislators was tabled until next year.At issue is the fact that three FBOs at the airport (Jet Systems, Million Air and the former Panorama Flight Service) currently have tax-exempt status, while two (Signature and Landmark) do not and are actively pursuing exemption in court.

Panorama and Million Air initially received the designation decades ago because they offer public services such as flight training and aircraft rental. Several years ago, Jet Systems successfully challenged its own tax-paying status in court, thus setting a possible precedent for Signature and Landmark.

An earlier deal called for Signature to drop the lawsuit over its tax status in lieu of annual lease rebates if the purchase was approved, but the county was advised that this could be considered illegal revenue diversion. It, therefore, changed the transaction to a strict lease reassignment.

At the meeting, the vote on the deal was deferred as community members voiced their concerns over the BBA Aviation subsidiary’s possible tax exemption, which could cost the local communities hundreds of thousand dollars in annual revenue.