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September 20, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Tradewind Aviation sues Million Air over Westchester County Airport hangar deal

Million Air White Plains, developer of a new $80 million terminal and hangar at Westchester County Airport, has been sued for allegedly reneging on a hangar deal.

Tradewind Aviation LLC, a charter and shuttle company, sued Million Air in Westchester Supreme Court on Feb. 26, two days before the Houston-based company held a grand opening showcasing a new terminal.

The Million Air hangar at Westchester County Airport. Photo by Bob Rozycki

“Million Air in its greed and inappropriate profiteering saw an opportunity to breach its commitments and repudiate its obligations under the LOI (letter of intent),” Tradewind Aviation states in the complaint.

Million Air did not immediately provide a response to the allegations.

Million Air is a fixed base operator that provides hangars, fuel, parking and other general aviation services for private planes and corporate jets.

Tradewind has operated out of the airport since the early 2000s, according to the complaint, and leases space from Million Air. It offers private charters and runs shuttles from White Plains to Boston, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Stowe, Vermont.

In 2016, the companies signed a letter of intent for Tradewind to lease an entire 15,000-square-foot hangar and 5,726-square-foot office and shop space for up to 15 years. The lease was set at $32 per square foot, or $663,232 a year, according to the complaint. Tradewind agreed to buy 500,000 to 1 million gallons of fuel a year from Million Air.

The deal was binding and left no room for future negotiations over significant terms, Tradewind claims, and Million Air used the commitment to promote $80 million in bonds to fund its expansion.

In October, the complaint charges, Million Air “pulled the rug out from under Tradewind” and demanded new terms.

Million Air allegedly reduced the lease from 15 years to two, cut the leased space from 20,726 square feet to 8,723, increased rent from $32 per square feet to $35, increased fuel prices and flight fees, added new valet parking fees and committed to leasing part of the hangar to a competitor of Tradewind.

Tradewind claims that the new terms increase its costs by $1 million a year and will require it to spend another $1,250,000 a year to service its aircraft at another location.

The company is asking the court to compel Million Air to honor the 2016 letter of intent.

Tradewind is represented by attorney Fred D. Weinstein of White Plains.