A readily available Jet A fuel supply and the promise of more storage space for private aircraft are just some of the improvements taking flight at Ottawa Municipal Airport this year.

Ottawa officials announced in mid-February the city had purchased a Jet A fuel truck from another municipality.

The truck will be based at the Ottawa Municipal Airport, 2178 Montana Road, to meet demands for the fuel type and increase revenue, city officials said. Jet A specification fuel has been used in the United States since the 1950s, according to industry reports.

The availability of Jet A fuel at the airport should increase the number of customers who previously had to travel to surrounding cities for fuel, Jack Miller, chairman of the city’s airport advisory board, said.

“The advisory board first considered having a Jet A fueling station installed next to our Avgas station,” Miller said. “Due to the cost, we realized that wouldn’t be possible. We needed to come up with a plan we could implement almost immediately.”

The city purchased the fuel truck for $16,000 from the City of Newton, Scott Bird, city finance director, said.

The ability to sell Jet A fuel will attract more commercial aircraft to the airport, which has many benefits, Miller said.

“It’s additional revenue for the city and our fixed-based operator, and it allows us to supply fuel to our crop dusters and other aircraft that use Jet A fuel,” he said.

The timing for the project works well with the city’s December announcement to acquire 303 acres of land north of the airport for an industrial park, Miller said.

“Many of the potential businesses have corporate aircraft, which need Jet A to operate,” he said. “Not only is this a plus for the airport but also the community at-large when you consider the potential for growth.”

Adding Jet A fuel was one of the city commission’s goals for the airport when it voted in October 2013 to approve a two-year contract with OWI Aviation LLC to operate the airport, located about three miles southeast of Ottawa. OWI, which is the airport’s call letters, is a management company owned by Hawkeye Helicopter LLC, 401 S. Main St., Ottawa.

The two-year contract, which runs through Oct. 1, 2015, calls for the city to receive 10 cents per gallon on all aviation fuel sales, as well as a small portion of hangar rentals at the airport.

The city is in the midst of a project to add 10 T-hangars at the airport to store private aircraft, with the work scheduled for completion later this year. MAC Corp., Blue Springs, Missouri, submitted the low bid of $685,879. The company’s bid came in about $92,000 below the engineer’s estimate.

Richard Nienstedt, city manager, told Ottawa city commissioners at a study session Feb. 16 it was his understanding that enough aircraft owners were waiting in the wings to rent all 10 hangars as soon as they were completed.

Ottawa city commissioners voted Oct. 15 to authorize the issuance of general obligation temporary notes for $530,000 to cover the balance of the financing needed to build the T-hangars. The city entered into a temporary note purchase agreement with Kansas State Bank, which submitted the low bid of 1.0 percent interest on the temporary notes, to partially finance the hangar project.

“That is a very good rate for a note of this type,” David Arteberry, senior vice president of financial advisor George K. Baum & Company, Kansas City, Missouri, told commissioners at their Oct. 15 meeting.

Blake Jorgensen, a city commissioner and officer with Kansas State Bank, 236 N. Main St., Ottawa, abstained from voting.

The $530,000 in temporary notes will be coupled with $318,200 in federal grant money to complete the financing for the project, finance director Bird said.

A long-term project calls for runway expansion to allow larger jets to land at the airport, city officials have said. No timetable has been set for the project.

Doug Carder is Herald senior writer. Email him at dcarder@ottawaherald.com