WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A local business is being forced to leave ILM International Airport.
The airport authority voted Wednesday evening to enter new negotiations with an outside company that will replace Aero Services, a business that has been with ILM for many years.
After over an hour of discussion and debate, the authority members voted 3-2 to go with the Brixtel Group, a company out of Virginia.
Aero Services provides hangar services to area pilots and offers flight school as well. Many people, including local pilots and company employees, stood up to support the business at Wednesday's meeting.
"When the airport said you have to meet minimum standards we said we will put our life savings into this and we will step up to the plate," said Aero Services manager Gerard Tremblay.
According to Airport Authority Chairman Tom Barber, the authority needed the business to comply with a five year lease. Tremblay said this just wasn't possible for his company to achieve.
"People have different opinions as to how to do things and sometimes it gets heated. 99 percent of the time we see eye-to-eye on things, but this particular thing was a tough one," Barber said.
Barber said Tremblay and his wife have done wonderful things for the airport. However, that would not change the authority's vote.
"We care about the youth and we care about our airport and this is our airport and it's going to be taken away from us," said Tremblay.
The Aero Services manager said he will continue to work in aviation at other airports in the area.
Barber said the Brixtel Group will be hiring new employees if negotiations go smoothly and the business comes to ILM. He said Brixtel will also look to hire employees currently working with Aero Services. He hopes the transition between businesses takes a month's time.
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