by Marissa Lorenz
Grand County Commissioners signed and sent a letter to Alpine Wings, LLC this week, notifying the long-time Fixed Base Operator
(FBO) at Kremmling’s McElroy Airfield of breach of lease.
Discussion was held during executive session on Tuesday to gain legal advice from County Attorney Chris Leahy, but the
letter cites an incident which occurred last week when a Flight for Life/EMS crew landed at the airport to evacuate a patient from Middle Park Medical Center.
It goes on to read, “It is appreciated that you showed a good-faith effort by immediately removing [the employee] from fueling operations. However, there is still concern that [he] may have the potential to interact with airport users. After his demonstration of anger on Monday, July 20, 2020, there is concern that this step may potentially prove to be insufficient to cure what the County is considering a breach of Alpine Wings’ lease with the County.
Alpine Wings is hereby requested to provide the Board a plan on what steps it has taken, or will take, to correct this issue. Alpine Wings is hereby put on notice it is in breach of contract under Articles C-1 and XI of the 1996 lease and operating agreement. This letter serves as 30 days’ formal notice of breach. If you do not cure this breach within 30 days, the County may terminate your lease. Your immediate attention to this matter would be greatly appreciated.”
The letter was also signed by Kremmling Mayor Grover Pryor at this week’s Town Board meeting.
Reportedly, an employee of Alpine Wings refused to fuel the emergency aircraft when he was upset about where the vehicle was parked. The aircraft was forced to take off without topping off its fuel.
Staff from Middle Park Health and Grand County EMS were also on-scene for the patient transfer to the medivac helicopter. “The County immediately called and sent letters of apology to all entities involved about what transpired that afternoon,” says Ed Moyer, Grand County Assistant Manager.
Alpine Wings had not yet provided comment at the time of publication.
Alpine Wings is owned by Jim Ward of Kremmling and has contracted with the County and Town of Kremmling as the airfield’s FBO since 1991. The County announced in June that Alpine Wings would not be seeking renewal of the contract upon its expiration on April 1, 2020. County and airport staff had already been working on a Request for Proposal (RFP) in preparation of the coming transition and had expected to begin the search for a new operator and revenue-sharing partner in the coming weeks.
by Marissa Lorenz