Port approves Dash Air lease pact

Dash Air will lease office space at Fairchild International Airport for $167 per month.

Dash is leasing 420 square feet of lobby space and 105 square feet of office space at Fairchild International Airport for a total of 525 square feet.

The port typically charges $1 per square foot to lease property, which would cost Dash Air $525 a month.

But the port has voted to waive the cost of the lease as well as the $15 landing fees until August 2024 to allow Dash Air time to get established.

The leasing of the property is a hopeful sign that Dash Air will begin to take flight in the new year.

Dash Air President Clint Ostler said he plans to make an announcement at the Jan. 11 Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

“We’re getting everything in place early next month, mostly paperwork, to ensure we’re ready to roll, and I’m hoping to have a more substantial update at the luncheon,” Ostler said.

Dash Air was supposed to take flight in August, but complaints filed by Kenmore Air followed by investigations by the state Department of Transportation have kept it grounded.

DOT closed the docket on those filed complaints and began its review process of Dash Air in September. Ostler has said he hopes to get the review back by early next year.

“We haven’t heard anything from the DOT yet, but our attorney thinks this is good news and we need to move forward; we’re just getting everything ready to move as soon as we can,” Ostler said.

“The port can temporarily waive our lease portion, but we can’t waive the state tax, which Dash Air will need to pay,” said John Nutter, deputy executive director for the port.

In lieu of the $525 lease, Dash Air will pay the cost of the leasehold excise tax, a tax levied by the state for property leases that are exempt from property taxes, plus $100 to contribute to the airport terminal electrical bill.

The current excise tax is 12.84 percent, which comes out to about $0.13 per square foot of the leased property. That makes the monthly payment $67.41 plus the $100 in electrical costs.

“Dash will be occupying 525 square feet within the much larger terminal building and there is no practical method to determine their specific energy usage so we have asked them to contribute $100 per month towards the electrical bill for the entire terminal,” Nutter said.

After August 2024, Dash would be paying the port about $2,325 per month to lease the space.

“We expect their occupancy will extend beyond the initial term and then they would start paying rent and fees after the initial term,” Nutter said.