Central Illinois Regional Airport (BMI) lost its longer-serving FBO when Image Air closed its doors earlier this month. The family-owned business had served the Bloomington/Normal airport’s customers for nearly half a century. For much of that time it was the sole provider, but since 2013 it shared the ground handing and fueling duties with Synergy Flight Center. Image Air founder Kenneth Rittenhouse died a year ago, and the family decided it would wind down the business.
“They had continued to operate with the staff they had in place," said Fran Strebing, the airport’s deputy director of marketing. "There were no other family members who were interested in stepping into the same role as Mr. Rittenhouse and so they were looking to either sell the business or transition it in some way.”
In the meantime, a lender foreclosed on its outstanding loan on the Image Air property, which still has more than four decades remaining on its lease, and purchased it in November. It then sold the company’s buildings and assets to Synergy, making it the sole service provider on the field. Included in the purchase are two heated hangars totaling 28,650 sq ft, an additional 12,250 sq ft of terminal/office space, and a pair of 5,000-gallon jet-A tankers.
Synergy’s owner and CEO, Andrew Dustman, plans to relocate his maintenance facility to one of the hangars, following a major refurbishment project on the facility that could cost up to $1 million.