Project Aviation this week filed for a Circuit Court injunction to stop the town government from allowing a second company to begin work as a fixed-base operator at Leesburg Executive Airport.
ProJet has served as a FBO at the airport since 2010. This month, a second business, Kuhn Jet Center, also is expected to begin offering those services.
While ProJet’s FBO status is not exclusive, the court filing argues that its 2015 lease with the town mandates that any other FBO would have to comply with the same terms and conditions placed on ProJet. Most significantly, that includes providing 10,000-square-feet of hangar space for maintenance operations.
While the petition describes that requirement as onerous and above typical airport standards, it argues that the Kuhn operation must be required to provide the same service.
“Unless a new entrant can comply with the requirements imposed on ProJet under the Contract, the new entrant cannot be permitted to act as an FBO at the airport,” the petition states. It alleges Kuhn’s operation plan is “far more favorable” and also alleges the business is being provided with access to public ramp space and operating a substandard and dangerous fueling system.
In arguing that there is not enough space for a second FBO to safely operate in the current facilities and also stating that it is not opposed to the competition a second FBO would bring, ProJet suggests the town establish those services on the west side of the airport, on land planned for expansion in the future.
The town has not yet approved the Kuhn Jet Center to operate as an FBO.
“We are aware of the litigation filed by ProJet Aviation. We understand that the Loudoun County Circuit Court has declined to hear the request for an emergency hearing on temporary injunctive relief. Until and unless the town is enjoined in the lawsuit it is business as usual,” Town Attorney Christopher Spera said in a statement. “The Airport Director is currently reviewing the permit application for Kuhn Jet Center to operate as a fixed-base operator at Leesburg Executive Airport. The Airport Director will issue a commercial operator permit to KJC when he determines they are in compliance with airport minimum standards.”
Scott Kuhn, the president and CEO of KJC, said the operations meet or exceed all state, local, and federal requirements to open the FBO and plans to begin offering services to the public this month.
“A thriving regional airport is in the best interest of our rapidly growing community. That starts with providing a competitive environment at Leesburg Executive Airport, including in its fueling and service business,” Kuhn said. “By opening Kuhn Jet Center—an FBO, we will help expand and grow the airport by bringing more options, a higher level of service, and fair pricing to customers. We are already doing this with Kuhn Aviation, our aircraft management business, and look forward to our continuing partnership with the Town of Leesburg. ProJet and its owners should focus on competing rather than preventing progress. Our county and region deserve it.”