Whirly-birds on thier way

Published on Thu, Aug 30, 2001 by Meg Olson

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Whirly-birds on thier way

By Meg Olson

Blaine’s airport is on its way to becoming a heliport.

At their August 27 meeting Blaine city council approved a lease with Silver Star/United Helicopters to establish helicopter operations at the airport. United Helicopters is the American division of Western Helicraft Ltd. in Langley B.C. The company will lease the large airport hangar and office space adjacent to the pilots’ lounge for $700 per month.

“It provides the airport with some revenue but the big plus is for the city,” said airport commission chairman Doug Fenton. “It’s a new business and a dynamic business that will be a boon to Blaine.” Fenton added that having a helicopter in Blaine would be an asset to law enforcement and emergency crews.

United could serve clients in the U.S. more conveniently from Blaine than the current Langley base. The company provides helicopter support for construction, search and rescue and law enforcement and hopes to expand into heliskiing, company representative Wil Southam told council. The company also repairs and remanufactures helicopters. “Over time we could see a buildup of skilled individuals located here,” he said.

Before copters start buzzing around, a heliport needs to be built and the business needs final FAA approval to operate out of Blaine. The company will pay for any improvements but the airport may credit some costs of permanent improvements back to them.

Due to council concern over the term of the lease, they shortened the airport commission recommended five-year lease with two ten-year renewals to one ten-year renewal. The company will also pay for utilities and post a performance bond. . .

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