The city of Kodiak OK’d an ordinance granting Island Air a 25-year lease for two lots at the Trident Basin Float Plane facility.
The new lots, previously leased by Andrew Airways, are adjacent to land leased by Island Air.
“This is an important piece of business,” said Councilor John Whiddon at a Kodiak City Council meeting on Thursday. “The opportunity to transfer this lease essentially from Andrew Air over to Island Air for a period of 25 years is really about economic development for Trident Basin ... This gives an opportunity to continue to grow our tourism business.”
According to the ordinance, if no referendum petition with signatures is filed, the transfer will go into effect in one month.
Erik Howard, one of the owners and the director of operations of Island Air, said the company is looking to combine the lot that Island Air is currently leasing with the adjacent lot.
He said there are currently five spots at the basin, adding, “(The ordinance) would give us two of the spots. Seahawk (Air) currently leases one. There would still be two spots available.”
After operating in Kodiak for decades, Island Air was sold in 2016 to Howard, Adam Lutz and Taj Shoemaker. Now the company looks to expand.
“By passing this (ordinance), it will be good for all the rural residents of Kodiak,” he said, adding that the company will be “able to serve people who have remote cabins not located in the villages.”
In a letter to the city, Island Air outlined their plan to increase their charter business by developing more ecotourism opportunities that bring clients to Kodiak.
The 25-year lease was constructed with the annual market rent of $23,700 and a 2% annual rent increase beginning in July and continuing each subsequent July.
According to a memorandum to the council, the city received a request to expand the lease agreement in connection with its merger of operations with Andrew Airways, Inc. in November.
Dean Andrew told the Kodiak Daily Mirror that after running his business for 25 years out of Trident Basin and the airport, he wants to scale down his business and do “a smaller scale thing out at the airport.”
“I'm taking a break from years of stress,” Andrew said of running an air taxi business. “It takes quite a few people, and it's risky because of the weather, and there’s a lot of money going in and a lot of money going out.”
According to Andrew, although Island Air is operating out of the Andrew Airways office, the purchase of the buildings has been negotiated but is not yet finalized.