Private Sky sues Lee County Port Authority: what it could mean for you

Reporter: Amy Galo Writer: Bryanna Sterzenbach
Published: Updated:

Fuel ain’t cheap, whether you’re on the ground or thousands of feet in the air.

“When you’re going down US-41, the price of gas is different at different stations,” said Dennis Adams, President and CEO of Celebrity Jet Charter. “Same thing with an FBO.”

FBO stands for fixed base operator. These provide several services to private jets, the most important being fuel.

“Your larger airports will have one, two or maybe even three FBOs,” said Adams.

Currently, RSW has only one FBO: Private Sky, but the Lee County Port Authority wants to add another.

So, Private Sky has sued the Lee County Port Authority over its requesting bids for competition.

In the complaint for injunctive relief, Private Sky claims the airport has not met the 3 million gallon fuel threshold needed to support a second FBO.

The company also argues competition would ruin its ability to operate and fulfill its current lease, which runs through 2060.

As a jet broker, Dennis Adams has seen the effects of competitive FBOs first-hand.

“When I charter private jets to different airports for my clients, I pick an FBO for that jet that has a good fuel price and has good services,” said Adams.

That means, that if a second FBO is added at RSW, Private Sky would have to compete with the company’s prices and services.

“It doesn’t affect the person that’s chartering a jet, it affects the pilot and the owner of the jet that he’s flying for, because they’ve got to get gas wherever they fly,” said Adams.

Private Sky already competes with the Lee County Port Authority’s own FBO at Page Field.

“When a pilot is coming into Fort Myers, he might look at Page Field versus RSW as to the cost for fuel or services to park to the plane there overnight,” Adams explained.

While increased competition could hurt Private Sky, Adams said it could give pilots and jet owners more choices.

WINK News reporter Amy Galo reached out to the Lee County Port Authority, Private Sky and Private Sky’s legal counsel Paul Thanasides.

None could provide a comment or give an interview.

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