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Spokane Airways closing at airport

Spokane Airways is closing its hangar doors at Spokane Airport after 25 years in business.

Owner Dick Chastek, 80, is retiring at the end of December, and closing a business he’s helped run since 1988.

Chastek has talked about retirement for years, said his son John Chastek.

The continuing slump in general aviation business in Spokane made the decision easier, John Chastek said.

“Some pockets of recovery (in small plane operations and services) are occurring, but not as much in a midsized city such as Spokane,” he said. “So, I know my dad sees this as a bittersweet moment. It’s been a good experience.

“But he also realized the timing was right to shut it down.”

Spokane Airways, which operates only at Spokane International, provides private aircraft maintenance, flight training and small aircraft charters.

Early this year, Denver-based Ross Aviation bought XN Air, a competitor for Spokane’s fixed base operations, along with Spokane Airways’ fueling and ground services provided for private and commercial aircraft.

The Chastek family agreed to the sale as a sound financial move. “Ross Aviation basically came in this year and combined two struggling operations into one good company,” John Chastek said.

Spokane Airways has roughly a dozen workers, including contract flight instructors.

John Chastek worked for a number of years at Spokane Aviation with his father and his brother, Mark Chastek. Since January, he took over as general manager at XN Air.

XN Air is now the airport’s FBO, or fixed base operator. It provides aircraft fueling, hangar services and ground services for commercial and private aircraft.

Some maintenance and avionics work formerly done by XN Air were acquired by Aircraft Solutions, a Spokane-based firm owned by Bill Ifft and Matt Brown.