TAC Air buys competitor

TAC Air, which has been servicing charter and private aircraft at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport for the past 12 years, has purchased the assets of its competitor, Air 51.

The deal, which took place last month, means that TAC Air will, once again, be the only fixed-base operator at the airport.

"Both parties felt like conditions were ripe," said Danny Walsh, vice president of aviation at TAC Air. Air 51 opened a $3 million hangar at the airport last year. Officials of the defunct business could not be reached for comment.

TAC Air, which is building a new executive terminal and hangars at the airport, which it expects to have completed before the World Equestrian Games in Central Kentucky in 2010, plans to use Air 51 facilities for storage, Walsh said.

When TAC Air's new executive terminal is completed, plans are for the Aviation Museum of Kentucky to move into the old TAC Air terminal and for TAC Air to take over the museum's building, according to airport officials. Mustang Aviation, an aircraft maintenance business, which now occupies about a third of the existing TAC Air terminal, would continue to operate there.

"We view it as a chance to move to a more visible location with more room to display the extensive aviation history and the great airplanes we have to display. This is a step forward for us," said Ray Garman, chairman of the museum's board of trustees.

"We anticipate we would be there until we have raised sufficient money to build an entirely new aviation museum," he said. An effort to raise $10 million is ongoing.