By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Two weeks after Universal Asset Management landed the first of what officials hope are many more aircraft, the Tupelo Airport Authority on Friday approved a 20-year lease for the company.
Memphis-based UAM is shifting its wide-body aircraft disassembling and warehousing operations from Arkansas, and it landed a retired Japan Airlines 747 on March 19 at Tupelo Regional Airport.
The company is moving into the soon-to-be vacated Army Air National Guard facility.
The 20-year lease for UAM begins June 1.
Under the terms of the agreement, UAM will pay the authority $85,000 in each of the first two years. In the third year, it pays $105,000. From years four to 20, it will pay $110,000 yearly, with a 1.25 percent increase each year, starting the fifth year.
Tupelo Regional Airport Executive Director Josh Abramson told the board – with member Glenn McCullough the only one absent – that UAM would not face any other fee increases “unless they change the scope of their business as long as they stay in their lease-hold area.”
In addition, the lease does not allow UAM to store aircraft on airport property for more than two years.
“If they do, they’ll have to pay a financial penalty, which the board will have to determine,” Abramson said.
“They’re working well with us to keep a clean airport,” Abramson added.
UAM also will pay 65 percent of a prorated portion of utility charges, including connection fees for water, waste water, natural gas electricity, phone and other utility charges.
Why not 100 percent? UAM will not be using all the space at the AANG facility.
Abramson said the company didn’t need all of the available office space.
“Basically, they’re using a space that’s good for a guard facility and hangar space and that’s about it,” he said. “But we will try to find another tenant for the office space. That works to our benefit that we can get another tenant.”