WASHINGTON (BBN) — The Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas, a sovereign Native American nation, is exploring taking over the all but defunct Topeka Regional Airport (formerly Forbes Field) and transforming it into a global aircraft lease and servicing center, Kickapoo Tribe (KS) Chairman Lester Randall said.
[Kickapoo Tribe of the Kickapoo Reservation of Kansas Chairman Lester Randall speaks to Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass at White House Tribal Nation Conference with President Barack Obama. Nov 5, 2015]
During an interview on the sidelines at the White House Tribal Nations Conference hosted by President Barack Obama on November 5, 2015, Kickapoo Chief Randall said Indian Nations’ exemption from both Federal and State taxes would make the Kickapoo Tribe ideally suited to own an off-shore aircraft leasing center located in the Midwestern United States.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a native of Topeka, was initially taken back by the Kickapoo Tribe’s initiative to takeover Topeka Regional Airport, which is located only 50 miles from the Kickapoo reservation.
Brownback, a former US Senator, has close ties with the leaders of Kansas impressive Wichita, Kansas- based aviation industry consisting of Montreal-based Bombardier Inc (TSE: BBB.D) unit Learjet, Hawker Beechcraft Corporation and Textron Inc (NYSE:TXT ) unit Cessna.
[Kansas Governor Sam Brownback speaks with Capitol Intelligence/BBN using CI Glass on sale of Topeka Regional Airport (Forbes Field) to Kickapoo Nation. Washington, DC. November 12, 2015]
The Kickapoo have legal rights, as a federally US recognized Tribal nation, to acquire land up to 75 miles from their Federal Indian reservation and place the lands under the ownership of the Tribe.
Topeka Regional Airport, commonly known as Forbes Field, was originally an airfield for the US Strategic Air Command and later decommissioned. Currently, it serves as a regional airport with a handful of commercial flights landing.
However, the airport that covers 2,854 acres (1,155 ha), has two concrete runways: 13/31 is 12,803 by 200 feet (3,902 x 61 m) and 3/21 is 7,001 by 150 feet (2,134 x 46 m). The longest runway is capable of handling Boeing 747-400 and Airbus 380 and the world’s largest plane, the Ukrainian built Antonov 225 cargo carrier.
However, the Kickapoo special status would allow Topeka to become an international aircraft leasing hub, a market now dominated by Ireland and other off-shore centers such as the Cayman Islands and Hong Kong.
Kickapoo Chief Randall said Topeka can be major aviation center that would not only be a market place for the purchase and sale of commercial planes but also a maintenance and inspection center for the airplanes.
“These would create countless well-paying jobs for the Kickapoo but also for Kansas residents,” Chief Randall said.
The Kickapoo Tribe, following talks with Governor Brownback and Kansas US Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), plan to kick off a beauty contest to appoint a global investment bank and legal advisor.
The Kickapoo would like to purchase the Topeka Airport and subsequent build-out in partnership with a sovereign infrastructure fund such as Australia’s s Macquarie Group (ASX: MQG) and/or Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.
The global leaders in aircraft leasing business are GE (NYSE:GE) owned and Norwalk, CT-based GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS); American International Group (NYSE:AIG) owned Los Angeles-based International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC); and Dublin, Ireland-based Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services (AWAS).
[US Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) discusses proposed United States Infrastructure Financing Authority with Capitol Intelligence/CI MENA using CI Glass at National Press Club. Sept. 15, 2015]
The purchase or takeover of Topeka Regional Airport could be used as a pilot program of a proposed US Infrastructure Financing Authority that is the brainchild and passion of US Senator Mark Warner (D-VA.). The Infrastructure Authority, according to Warner, would help public/private infrastructure investors takeover assets owned by state and local governments on a return on investment basis.
By PK Semler in Washington, DC. For more information please call +1-202-549-3399 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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