SELINSGROVE — Paul and Eric John, the Mifflinburg brothers who rescued a foundering Penn Valley Airport in late 2008 by absorbing the facility’s $600,000 debt and immediately investing $100,000, have turned over management of the airport to a Williamsport company.
“They wanted to get back to concentrating on their core businesses,” said the airport’s new general manager, Jim Taylor, of Energy Aviation.
The John brothers, operating as Heritage Aviation, had a lease to manage the facility — with options for additional leases — but chose instead to transition out of the operation. Energy Aviation, which has a second home at the Williamsport Regional Airport and provides fixed-base operator services at the western end of the airport field, will offer similar services, such as maintenance and flight schools, at Penn Valley.
Energy was the lone bidder for the operator contract. It was a no-money bid, Taylor said. “We got the contract because of the services we will be offering. Also the fact that we have a second airport and personnel that can help down here in Selinsgrove.”
Existing air operations won’t be impacted “one bit,” Taylor said. Three to five planes land each day at the Penn Township airport.
Taylor was the general manager of the airport before Heritage became operator. “I wasn’t happy to leave back in 2008, I really love the Valley, and so I’m glad to be back,” he said.
Taylor said he understood the brothers’ decision. “They were caretakers in a way. They loved the airport and didn’t want to see it shut down. But they also recognized that we had the expertise and personnel to run the airport efficiently and expand services.”
When Heritage took over operations, leaky roofs were patched and new doors, locks and lighting were installed. Areas in and around hangars and ramp areas were paved. Closed T-hangars were power-washed, and open T-hangars were painted. New concrete tie-downs were placed on the ramp.
Myles Biggs, a spokesman for Paul and Eric John, declined to say how much money was spent to upgrade and renovate the complex.
The transition from Heritage Aviation to Energy Aviation occurred at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday and was quick and seamless, Taylor noted.
“I feel this is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” Paul John said in a statement. “Over the past eight years, we have worked hard to help the Penn Valley Airport build a strong presence.”
He praised Taylor, saying he was “instrumental in helping to build the airport’s reputation for world-class service, and I feel confident that he will continue that tradition at the helm of Energy Aviation.”
Headquartered at the Williamsport Regional Airport, Energy Aviation offers concierge business flight support, full aircraft maintenance, flight school training, FAA testing and rental cars. For information, go to www.energyipt.com.