Tweed Airport, Robinson Aviation reach settlement over lost business

In exchange for withdrawing the lawsuit, Robinson will receive extensions on two options, now expired, that it previously had on land at Tweed to build additional hangars.
Mark Zaretsky
Source: New Haven Register, Conn.
Created: September 19, 2013

Sept. 19–Officials for Tweed New Haven Regional Airport and Robinson Aviation, a private business at Tweed, have essentially reached, but have yet to finalize, a settlement of a lawsuit Robinson filed after construction of federally mandated runway safety areas hurt its business in 2008.
The city of New Haven initially was a defendant in the suit but was later dropped.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s done except for signing,” Tweed New Haven Airport Authority member Tom Scarpati, a member of the authority’s litigation subcommittee, said at an authority meeting Wednesday afternoon.

“I believe that we’re at a point … where we’re settled,” Scarpati said. The full Tweed authority discussed the case in closed session last month and gave the authority’s Executive Committee authority to pursue the settlement, as long as it fell within certain parameters, members and staff said.
Robinson Aviation President Ken Robinson said before the meeting that he did not consider the settlement a done deal until it’s signed. “I don’t know that there’s anything that’s announcable yet because it hasn’t been signed,” he said.

But at the meeting, which Robinson attended, he said that “terms are settled” even if the settlement has yet to be signed.
According to representatives of both sides, the settlement does not involve any money changing hands. But in exchange for withdrawing the lawsuit, Robinson will receive extensions on two options, now expired, that it previously had on land at Tweed to build additional hangars to expand its business.
It also works out a framework to communicate such things in the future so the problem will not be repeated, said Robinson.

Robinson Aviation runs the private aviation on the East Haven side of the airport, leases hangar space and provides gasoline and repair service. Tweed collects landing fees for private planes and gets a cut of the gasoline Robinson sells, however, so the more traffic Robinson can attract, the more money Tweed makes.
The lawsuit alleged, among other things, that Robinson’s business was damaged by repeated shutdowns of the main runway that accompanied construction of the north runway safety area and work on the taxiway that runs alongside the runway.

It said Robinson had not been told that would be the case prior to signing its most recent lease — and alleged that Tweed and the company that manages the airport, American Facilities Co. Inc., withheld details before signing the lease.
Meanwhile, the runway would reopen for US Airways Express flights but not for the private flights heading to and from Robinson Aviation.
Tweed is managed by Avports, a subsidiary of AFCO.

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