Merlin Air ditching Pemberton land lease 

Merlin Air has had it with Pemberton.

The upstart airline that hoped to facilitate flights out of the Pemberton Regional Airport has returned its land lease to the Village of Pemberton, just one year into a 30-year lease.

In a news release issued Feb. 1, Lori and Fred Xavier state that the Village of Pemberton is determined to "prevent economic development and discourage private risk assessment" at the airport.

"It was a difficult personal decision given the substantial amounts of time and money and enthusiasm we invested," Vice-President Lori Xavier said. "We consider it the best business decision under the current administration and until we see a more investment-friendly council, one that welcomes new jobs, tourism and economic development."

Merlin Air had been trying to see commercial flights out of the airport but claimed it repeatedly ran into walls trying to make that happen. The airline's frustration reached a head in November when the Xaviers sent a letter to council outlining a host of grievances with Pemberton.

Among other things they alleged that the company's investments in Pemberton are being used to prevent them from flying out of the airport, an activity they hoped to facilitate during the 2010 Games.

Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy later responded that the Village of Pemberton needs a minimum of three years of weather data in order to consider economic development at the airport.

Though Merlin has returned the land lease it is still purchasing the existing hangar and offices at the airport and still hopes to introduce commercial air service in the spring.



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