BEH and Norwood at Stalemate over FBO Agreement

 - January 8, 2019, 12:50 PM

To head off an impending trial, Boston Executive Helicopters and the city of Norwood, Massachusetts, had reached an agreement in principle on December 6 that would permit BEH to establish an FBO at Norwood Memorial Airport and permit the airport to again qualify for federal grant assurances. However, according to court documents obtained by AIN, airport officials have reneged on several key issues.

Consequently, BEH has filed a motion requesting the court order the city of Norwood to adhere to all the provisions agreed to in the settlement document or dismiss it and reschedule the trial. Terms of the agreement generally follow recommendations by the FAA in a Part 16 study made at the request of BEH. In that study, the agency concluded that the city of Norwood has unfairly and illegally prevented BEH from establishing an FBO in violation of federal grant assurances.

Undisputed terms of the recent settlement agreement include payment of $750,000 to BEH by the defendants; defendants' withdrawal of their appeal of the Part 16 findings; approval of BEH as an FBO; the right to lease additional ramp space that was in contention; and the right to build a hangar on the so-called west ramp.

On December 11 when it was time for both parties to agree to the final draft agreement, three items essential to BEH were changed by the defendants. Removed was the heretofore stipulation to allow BEH to have a seat at the table and participate in an FAA “joint corrective action” plan. Also, language was added authorizing an easement through the west apron (to allow the existing FBO direct access to its fuel supply); and restricting BEH from building a hangar before 2026.

In the motion, BEH asks the defendants to adhere to “all the obligation in the original settlement or in the alternative, vacate the settlement order of dismissal and place this matter on the trial list for the earliest available date.”