Colorado Airport To Incentivize Unleaded Avgas

UL94 avgas Santa Clara County, California
Credit: Santa Clara County, California

Centennial Airport (KAPA) in Englewood, Colorado, will provide tenants and FBOs with incentives to transition away from supplying 100LL leaded aviation fuel to their customers.

At the request of KAPA Executive Director Mike Fronapfel, the Arapahoe County Public Airport Authority Board of Commissioners voted recently to authorize funding for the county-owned airport southeast of Denver to move suppliers to Swift Fuels UL94 unleaded avgas “as soon as practical.” The airport expects the unleaded fuel will be available by this summer.

“We have engaged in numerous discussions with the community regarding the use of leaded aviation fuel and are proud to be among the first general aviation airports in the country to commit to this transition,” Fronapfel wrote in a blog post. “One of our goals is to be able to provide a framework that other airports around the nation can use to make this transition as well.”

The move by KAPA comes in advance of an expected final determination by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this summer that lead emissions from piston-engine aircraft that operate on leaded fuel endanger public health. Other FBOs and GA airports around the country have started to make similar announcements.

Among strategies KAPA management is considering to make the change to supplying UL94 is to provide owners of aircraft based at the airport with financial assistance to obtain supplemental type certificates needed to use the fuel. Another strategy is to subsidize the cost of unleaded fuel to bring its cost closer to the current price of 100LL.

KAPA accommodated 314,071 aircraft operations in 2021. The airport is home to a number of aircraft charter and air medical operators, flying clubs, flight schools and FBOs jetCenters of Colorado, The Heliplex, Modern Aviation and Signature Flight Support.

Additional funds became available for the transition to unleaded avgas following the award of a $4 million grant from the FAA for site selection and design of a new air traffic control tower. The tower project already had funding allocated for the work in the county’s 2023 budget, the airport said.

Bill Carey

Based in Washington, D.C., Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.