Apr 26, 2012 16:35 EDT
Presidential Airways, Inc. of Moyock, NC (now AAR Airlift) uses EADS-CASA 212 and Dash-8 transport aircraft for its work, which is short-haul supply flights in and out of remote locations – including combat zones. It also fields helicopters and other assets. The US military hoped that Presidential would be able to address some of the issues US combat commanders have raised with the need for transport aircraft that can use smaller runways, and land closer to zones of operations. Accordingly, the firm received several contracts from the US government for these services, covering a number of Central Asian countries.
They remain a major provider of fixed-wing, in-theater contract transport – but are no longer the only option, as the USA turns to contractors for both helicopters and fixed-wing support. This article chronicles fixed-wing contracts from 2004 – 2012.
Contracts and Key Events
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Unless otherwise specified, The United States Transportation Command Acquisition Directorate at Scott Air Force Base, IL issued the contracts. Note that as of 2010, Presidential Airways is no longer a Blackwater subsidiary.
April 17/12: FlightWorks, Inc. in Kennesaw, GA wins a $13.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for the short take off and landing (STOL) and “low-cost low-altitude aerial resupply [airdrop] services” in Afghanistan. Work will be performed in Afghanistan, with an estimated completion date of Aug 26/12. One bid was solicited, with one bid received by U.S. Army Contracting Command in Rock Island, IL (W560MY-11-C-0005).
The firm’s advertised fleet consists of a variety of business jets, plus some twin-turboprops that are mostly advertised for surveillance services but could be used as STOL light transports.
June 24/11: AAR Airlift in Camden, NC receives a $48.8 million task order for fixed wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance and supervision necessary to perform passenger and cargo air transportation services in Afghanistan. The contract runs from July 1/11 – May 31/12. This contract was a competitive acquisition, with 2 bids received (HTC711-10-D-R016).
June 2/11: US TRANSCOM awards a set of 3 contract options for fixed-wing services in Afghanistan, running from July 1/11 – May 31/12.
AAR Airlift Group, Inc. in Palm Bay, FL wins a $28 million option year (HTC711-10-D-R016).
Evergreen Helicopters in Anchorage, AK wins a $15.4 million option year (HTC711-10-D-R017). Evergreen’s fixed-wing fleet options include several aircraft types already used in theater, from Cessna 206s and Beech King Air 200s, up to CASA C212-200s, and even a WC-130E Hercules.
Berry Aviation, Inc. in San Marcos, TX wins a $26 million option year (HTC711-10-D-R018). The firm operates a number of aircraft, including the Do-228 turboprop and Cessna Citation-II business jet; but its dual-role cargo and passenger aircraft type is the Fairchild Metroliner, which serves in some specialty capacities in the US military as the C-26.
Feb 8/11: The new owner of Blackwater’s aviation subsidiaries, AAR Corp.of Wood Dale, IL, decides that it will shut down former Blackwater operations in Currituck County, NC, affecting 260 employees. Most employees of Aviation Worldwide Services have been offered job transfers to other facilities, but about 49 employees will lose their jobs. Triangle Business Journal.
Dec 9/10: Berry Aviation, Inc. in San Marcos, TX receives a $14.2 million task order for fixed wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance and supervision necessary to perform passenger and cargo air transportation services in Afghanistan. The contract will start Dec 9/10, and run to May 31/11. This contract was a competitive acquisition, with 2 bids received by the U.S. Transportation Command Directorate of Acquisition at Scott Air Force Base, IL (HTC711-10-D-R018).
Nov 8/10: AAR moves. AAR announces that Melbourne, FL will be the new location for its airlift services and specialized aircraft modifications businesses, which the Company acquired when it purchased Aviation Worldwide Services and its subsidiaries like Presidential Airways in April 2010. Since completing the acquisition from Blackwater/Xe, AAR has installed a new leadership team, and is rebranding the businesses.
Relocation was part of that plan, and local and state agencies in Florida apparently helped make it worth AAR’s while. AAR currently has facilities in Clearwater, Jacksonville, Medley and Miami, employing 1,200 highly-skilled workers and contributing approximately $150 million annually in economic impact to the state of Florida. At full employment, AAR says that the new Melbourne location will add an additional $42.3 million to the state’s economy.
The business will move to hangars, facilities and offices at and near Melbourne International Airport. The relocation will be conducted in phases and is expected to be completed by spring 2011, creating as many as 225 jobs by the end of 2012 in AAR Airlift Group and AAR Aircraft Services – Melbourne. AAR Airlift Group is led by US Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser (ret.).
June 7/10: Competition. US TRANSCOM awards a set of 2 contract options for fixed-wing services in Afghanistan, running from June 4/10 – May 31/11. This was a competitive acquisition, and AAR/ Presidential isn’t the only winner.
New AAR subsidiary Presidential Airways, Inc. receives a $24.3 million task order (HTC711-10-D-R016).
Evergreen Helicopters in Anchorage, AK receives a $14.5 million task order (HTC711-10-D-R017).
March 24/10: AAR acquisition. AAR Corp. announces an agreement to acquire Aviation Worldwide Services (AWS) from Xe Services LLC. This includes both Presidential Airways and STI Aviation, covering 17 fixed-wing and 21 rotary-wing aircraft are currently deployed, and 20 rotary-wing aircraft available for future deployment. AAR Corp. CEO Dave Storch:
“This acquisition represents a significant milestone in the expansion of AAR’s value-added capabilities for government customers…. We have a longstanding track record as a trusted provider of mission-critical products and services and are confident that the successful integration of AWS will strengthen AAR’s ability to support national defense priorities, nation building initiatives, humanitarian relief efforts and serve ‘smart power’ initiatives abroad.”
The acquired firms provide fixed- and rotary-wing flight operations in support of worldwide U.S. Department of Defense and Department of State deployments, and perform engineering and design modifications on rotary-wing aircraft for government customers. AAR Corp release.
Dec 19/08: Presidential Airways, Inc. of Moyock, NC received a $10.3 million fixed-price contract modification to add 2 additional Dash 8 aircraft, plus the personnel, equipment, tools, spares, maintenance required. The planes will perform passenger, cargo and combined passenger/cargo air transportation services in Afghanistan.
The Dash 8 is a civilian aircraft that is well known for its STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) capabilities, which makes it well suited to operate in Afghanistan’s conditions. New models are built by Bombardier as the Q series.
Work is expected to be complete on Sept 30/11. Contract funds are available for this additional service, which is added onto the contract via a sole source Justification and Approval (HTC711-08-D-0010/P00009).
Jan 17/08: Presidential Airways, Inc. of Moyock, NC received a $50.9 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for heavy lift fixed-wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance, and supervision necessary to perform passenger and cargo (combi) Short Take-Off and Landing air transportation services between locations in Afghanistan, Kyrgystan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
Work is expected to be complete in June 2011, but contract funds will expire at the end of this current fiscal year. This contract was a sole source acquisition by the USTRANSCOM Directorate of Acquisition at Scott Air Force Base, IL (HTC711-08-D-0014).
Sept 27/07: Presidential Airways, Inc in Moyock, N.C won an indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) type contract for $92 million to provide all fixed-wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance and supervision necessary to perform passenger, cargo and combi Short Take-Off and Landing air transportation services between locations in the Area of Responsibility of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
This contract was competitively procured, and 2 timely offers were received. The performance period is from Oct 1/07 – Sept 30/11 (HTC7 11 -08-D-0010).
Feb 23/07: A $14.4 million fixed price task order against an existing indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for continued commercial short take-off and landing (STOL) airlift service in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
The contract will end on September 30, 2007, which is also the end of the US DoD’s fiscal year. The United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), Command Acquisition at Scott AFB, IL issued the contract (FA4428-04-D-0036).
Nov 27/04: Crash. An aircraft operated by Presidential and owned by its sister company, Blackwater AWS crashes in Afghanistan. It ran out of room in a box canyon during a USAF contract flight from Bagram to Farah, and all aboard were killed: 3 soldiers and 3 civilian crew members. Several of their survivors filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Presidential in October 2005. Washington Post.
Sept 20/04: Presidential Airways in Melbourne, FL a $34.8 million indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract to provide for fixed-wing short take-off and landing aircraft to provide airlift in and around the Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan area of responsibility.
The Air Force can issue delivery orders totaling up to the maximum amount indicated above, although actual requirements may necessitate less than the amount above. At this time, $5 million of the funds has been obligated. Solicitation began July 2004 and negotiations were completed September 2004 (FA4428-04-D-0036).
- Pentagon DefenseLINK (June 18/08) – Low-Altitude Delivery Service Takes Supplies to Ground Troops