7/20/2009

Aviation businesses in Arkansas are adjusting staffing levels and looking for new opportunities amid a downturn in flying. Some FBOs report fuel sales have fallen 20% to 25%, and one aircraft paint shop at Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport has cut employment by half. Rick Lanman, director of the Mena airport, says "corporate-jet bashing" hasn't helped the struggling businesses at his airport and others like it. But Sierra Foxtrot Aviation, based at nearby Fort Smith airport, is expanding its geographic base and marketing more heavily to women in an effort to boost sales of aircraft products and flying lessons. "We're like hunting dogs," says co-owner Frank Maslakow. "If we can't find a rabbit under a bush, then we're going to go some place else and find a rabbit. ... We choose not to participate in this recession."

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