There are no flight training services at Auburn Municipal Airport, haven’t been since Galvin Flight Services left last summer.
To Doug Miller, as of January 2016 the new owner of Spanaflight LLC, a flight training school at Puyallup’s Thun Field, and keen to expand the 40-plus-year-old business, the void practically bellowed “opportunity.”
Which is why Miller recently asked the City of of Auburn and its airport about leasing space for a flight school and tie downs.
According to Kevin Snyder, director of Community Development and Public Works for the City of Auburn, the potential lease is for $490 a month.
But to start out, it would be temporary, roughly from July 1 to Dec. 31 of this year.
That may be, at least in part, owing to the City’s initial wariness about giving an as-of today still-green business owner a chance to prove himself, and accordingly, to give the City a chance to “test them out a little bit,” without much risk.
But should Spanaflight decide at the end of the lease that it wants out, or the City decide it wants to go in another direction, that would create an opportunity, too, especially given the recent spike in inquiries from businesses interested in leasing space at the airport, Snyder said.
As of today, Miller has his eye on the 400 building, which the airport’s consultant, Century West, is now leasing.
“They are not actively using that space,” Snyder said of Century West, adding that it lands there only occasionally as part of the lease.
If, Snyder continued, Century West should indicate a willingness to consider terminating its lease to let Spanaflight in but for some reason the flight school proves unsuccessful, the potential exists for the City to return the 400 building to Century West.
“We are getting an increasing number of inquiries from businesses interested in our airport. So, even if the relationship is not the best, we still have an opportunity out of it. So I don’t think there is really a loss or a huge risk for the City” Snyder said.
After meeting with Miller, said Josh Arndt, a real property analyst for the City of Auburn, staff found him to have good business acumen, possessed of a business plan outlining how he intends to grow his business at the airport, and indeed, a plan he’s already working by signing up students, all of which Arndt said impressed the Airport Advisory Board, which met with Miller on May 11.