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GAO tosses out bid protest over CBP’s lease of hangar space near Houston

David Wayne Hooks Airport

The company that has been leasing hangar and office space at David Wayne Hooks Airport, located in Spring, TX, about 25 miles north of downtown Houston, to U.S. Customs and Border Protection since 1994 has protested CBP’s most recent solicitation for similar space as “overly restrictive,” but the Government Accountability Office has tossed out that protest.

CBP’s Houston Air and Marine Branch, which has been operating three Cessna C210 aircraft, two American Euro-copter AS350 A-Star helicopters and two Cessna C550 aircraft from the David Wayne Hooks Airport, had sought an upgrade of its hangar and office space. But Northwest Airport Management L.P., which has leased its space at that airport to CBP from 1994 until the agreement expired in September 2009 – and has since been on a month-to-month basis – said CBP’s new technical requirements were unnecessarily restrictive.

In its latest solicitation, CBP required that a single hangar be large enough to accommodate all of its aircraft, that the airport must be equipped with an instrument landing system (ILS), that the airport, runway and ramp must meet all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) construction standards, that the hangar must have motorized doors that operate mechanically and floor drains with water/oil separators, as well as other requirements.

Northwest Airport Management argued that CBP has been using its facilities at David Wayne Hooks Airport under terms of the earlier lease, and that “this demonstrates that the challenged requirements are not reasonably necessary to meet the agency’s present and future minimum needs.”

That’s not how the GAO saw it. “Northwest has not meaningfully rebutted any of the agency’s explanations regarding the legitimacy of its stated needs, thus its challenges of these additional requirements are without merit,” concluded the GAO.

The GAO’s decision memorandum, which was signed by its Acting General Counsel, Lynn Gibson, and dated Jan. 5, did not indicate whether a different winning bidder has been awarded a new lease for hangar and office space at David Wayne Hooks Airport, or at another airport.



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