June 25, 2008

Contractor Picked to Pave Taxiway

By Richard M. Barron, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.

Jun. 25--Mainline Contracting lost a $6.1 million contract last year after state officials gave bad advice to the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority.

After suing the authority and settling out of court, however, Mainline walked away a winner Tuesday with a $4.3 million contract on a different airport project.

The Durham company will grade and pave a taxiway extension at Piedmont Triad International Airport.

Mainline is already making its mark in local airport construction. The company graded and prepared 90 acres at Burlington-Alamance Regional Airport for the Honda Aero engine plant. The engines will be mounted on the HondaJet, to be built at PTI.

The contractor's dispute with PTI began last March when it submitted a similar bid to grade the site for Honda Aircraft Co.'s headquarters and jet factory.

PTI, operating under state instructions to reject any bids submitted without a list of minority subcontractors, rejected four bids. Of the remaining four, Mainline was the lowest bidder.

But when the state said its instructions were incorrect, and that the bidding should be reopened, Mainline said other bidders would get the advantage because they could look at its bid and ask for less than its $7.3 million offer.

And, in fact, Mainline lost the second round. The company sued the airport authority, but settled out of court last fall.

At its monthly meeting Tuesday, the authority accepted Mainline's bid for the taxiway work over four other companies.

Meanwhile, PTI held on to slight growth in its May passenger figures. The airport saw a slight increase in passengers of 1.3 percent, 1,313 more people than flew in May of 2007.

Although three of PTI's airlines lost passengers, US Airways picked up 2,925 passengers in May. Allegiant Air also added 3,993.

Still, with the loss of Skybus Airlines, a slight decline in passengers between April and May and a bleak season ahead with rising airfares, airport Executive Director Ted Johnson said a decline is likely.

"It'll catch up with us by the end of the year," he told the airport authority.

Contact Richard M. Barron at 373-7371 or [email protected]


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