Kitty Hawk's Closing Raises Questions About Who Will Pay Off Cargo Hub Bond

By Jeff Neumeyer

June 18, 2010 Updated Oct 30, 2007 at 6:14 PM EDT

The announcement Monday that a Fort Wayne air cargo operation is shutting down immediately, leaves hundreds of people out of work, and questions about who will get stuck paying off a multi-million dollar bond.

The closing of Kitty Hawk Incorporated is bad on several fronts.

Kitty Hawk's demise knocks out 300 Fort Wayne jobs.

The company has a fall property tax payment of 34-thousand-700 dollars due November 13th...don't count on the bankrupt freight transportation outfit writing that check.

Maybe more troubling, the fact that Kitty Hawk was lured to Fort Wayne International Airport in the late 90's with a 34-million dollar incentive package, including a 24-million dollar bond used to fund construction of Kitty Hawk's main cargo hub.

Kitty Hawk was obligated to pay a little more than two-million dollars a year through the year 2019 to retire that bond.

Airport Director Tory Richardson says it is premature to say how those bond payments will be made, and whether the Kitty Hawk property can be marketed to another tenant.

The problem is Kitty Hawk is now stuck in bankruptcy court.

We don't know what assets remain, and which credit obligations will be paid off first.

Kitty Hawk technically still owns the property, so the airport can't show it to a new tenant until it's released through the bankruptcy process.

Those bond payments could become the responsibility of local taxpayers.

Airport Director Tory Richardson, again, said it's too early to say that, but former airport director Skip Miller, confronted with that question about six years ago, when Kitty Hawk was in the midst of an earlier bankruptcy, suggested the payments could fall in the laps of taxpayers.

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