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Airport commission: Talks continue on future of Airmotive, Inc.

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Time is ticking on Airmotive Enterprises’ lease with the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.

The airport commission’s Contracts and Leases Committee met Monday to discuss what happens with the fixed-based operator (FBO) lease between the airport and Airmotive should owner John Riedl, Jr. choose to sell.

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It was announced in October that Riedl, who has owned Airmotive since 1981, was interested in selling his business to area businessman, Chris Kurtzman and partner, Rob Adair.

Riedl expressed his desire to move forward with the sale in Monday’s meeting, however, Adair is no longer apart of the purchasing partnership.

Prospective buyer Chris Kurtzman said after hearing of public concerns about Adair’s qualifications he reconsidered and has made the decision to move forward in the potential sale with new partner, Jeff Voigt. “If there is concern about what we bring to the airport, Jeff can help alleviate that,” Kurtzman told the commission.

Voigt currently owns the FBO operation, Park Rapids Aviation, at the Park Rapids Municipal-Konshok Field Airport.

Voigt, a native of North Dakota told the committee he has an extensive history in aviation both in North Dakota and Minnesota including managing the airport in Park Rapids.

Concerns about the FBO were a topic of discussion at the airport commission’s November meeting when Central Lakes Aviation owner Kai Brings addressed the commission with a proposal to consider his company as an option to fill the FBO lease. “We just want the airport commission to know they have options,” Brings said. “Untrained people can lead to mistakes made.”

Brings attended the Contacts and Leases meeting Monday but did not publicly address the committee.

Commission chair Andy Larson said that at the time is not considering, nor do they have the legal authority to consider offers other than the change in ownership of Airmotive. “Right now we’re focused exclusively on the potential change of ownership issues and conditions to consider,” Larson said.

Commissioners Jeff Czeczok and Don Jacobson expressed their own concerns about the change in ownership and questioning what would be the best option for the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport if there were other options available.

John Riedl, Jr. told the council the he could not say if selling to Kurtzman and Voigt was the best option because he doesn’t know what the other options are. “This is what I’d like to see happen,” Riedl said. “I think this is an opportunity.”

“I do want what’s best for the Brainerd airport, “ Kurtzman told the committee. “But I also want what’s best for John Riedl and his family. They deserve some value for this.”

Rield’s father, John Riedl, Sr., founded Airmotive at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport in 1958.

Jacobson said with the need to update the lease and revisit Kurtzman’s initial plan, he didn’t foresee being able to reach a decision before the airport commission’s regularly scheduled meeting Dec. 6, but could warrant a special meeting of the Contracts and Leases Committee before the next commission meeting.

“This can’t be accomplished in the next week,” he said. “It depends how fast we work.”

Riedl’s lease with the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31.

SARAH NELSON KATZENBERGER may be reached at sarah.nelsonkatzenberger@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5879.

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