Tuesday, February 07, 2012

San Bernardino International Airport: Spencer barred from managing fuel

San Bernardino International Airport officials seized control of Scot Spencer’s fueling operation Tuesday after he failed to keep enough fuel on site to fill aircraft that may need it, the airport’s director confirmed.

Last week, the pilot of a plane that was being maintained by Aviation & Defense Inc. at the airport needed fuel before departing, but there was only enough to partly fill the plane’s tank. The pilot had to make a stop along the way to re-fuel, said A.J. Wilson, the interim executive director of the San Bernardino International Airport Authority and related Inland Valley Development Agency.

Wilson confirmed the action and said that the airport’s fueling agreement with Spencer’s SBD Properties company requires enough fuel be kept at all times to serve the needs of the airport, an estimated 20,000 gallons.

“He probably had 1,200 gallons,” Wilson said, adding he wouldn’t know how much was left in the tanks until it was measured.

As a result, the airport terminated Spencer’s fuel agreement immediately.

Spencer’s company will still be allowed to sell fuel to planes that land at the airport, namely at his Million Air franchise that caters to private pilots. He’ll just have to buy the fuel from the airport first and on a cash-up-front basis, Wilson said.

The airport, starting Tuesday, will be buying, storing and managing the fuel itself and plans to work with the same fuel vendor Spencer had used, Air BP — a division of British Petroleum.

Wilson said jet fuel costs about $4 to $4.50 per gallon at the moment. Companies that sell fuel at airports, including Spencer’s, make a profit by selling the fuel for a higher price.

The airport, as part of its agreements with Spencer, received six cents for every gallon of fuel sold.

The airport earned a total of $46,504 in fuel flow fees in the three months ending December, according to the most recent financial report. Spencer was late in paying about $90,000 worth of fuel fees last year.

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