ASTORIA — An Ashland helicopter company that transports bar pilots at the mouth of the Columbia River wants a management role at the Astoria Regional Airport in Warrenton.
Brim Aviation of Ashland took over the bar pilot work last year from a California company. Bar pilots guide oceangoing vessels over the treacherous passage at the mouth of the river.
Kyle Fortune, Brim's maintenance base manager, will present his company's proposal to take over fueling, fixed-base operations and other services from the Port of Astoria at the Astoria Regional Airport in Warrenton.
The presentation starts at 4 p.m. today before the Port Commission's regular meeting at 6 p.m.
"Our main thing going there is we want to take over the fuel, the FBO, and the whole services over there at the airport," said Fortune.
"We're sure we can run a superior service."
The Port, to save money, recently laid off its part-time Airport Manager John Overholser, also a Hertz Auto Rental franchisee based at the airport.
Fortune said the company wants to provide 24-hour fuel service, courtesy cars for transient pilots and regional marketing for the airport.
"We don't understand why this airport isn't busy," said Fortune. "We're on the coast."
Brim has been providing transport for the Columbia River Bar Pilots since March 2012, taking over for Santa Maria, Calif.-based Arctic Air, which had serviced the pilots for 10 years.
Fortune said the company understands the request-for-proposal process that means the Port must go out for bid if it wants to contract out services at the airport.
"We're not saying that we have to be the ones to do it," said Fortune.
"There's just got to be improvements. We're here no matter what, because we're working with the bar pilots."