Affiliate of Blackwater awarded $39M contract
By Robert McCabe
© March 12, 2010
Presidential Airways Inc., an affiliate of the firm formerly known as Blackwater, has been awarded a $39 million "task order" from the Defense Department to move passengers and cargo by helicopter in Afghanistan.
Presidential Airways is based on the grounds of U.S. Training Center Inc., which has a Moyock, N.C., mailing address. Owned by Xe Services LLC, U.S. Training Center was known as Blackwater until February 2009.
According to its Web site, Presidential Airways provides airlift and other aviation services to the U.S. government as well as state and local governments and "friendly nations around the world." Among the services it provides are vertical replenishment for the Navy's Pacific Fleet, helicopter support services for the State Department in Iraq and airlift services for the Defense Department in Afghanistan, the Web site said.
The latest task order, announced this week, calls for Presidential Airways to provide helicopters, personnel, equipment, maintenance and supervision from March 5 to Nov. 30. The task order came from the U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
Joe Yorio, president and CEO of Xe Services, filed an application March 4 with the North Carolina s ecretary of s tate for a new limited liability company called Xe Aviation. Yorio is listed as manager for Xe Aviation, which was formed Jan. 19.
Officials at Xe Services did not return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment Wednesday and Thursday.
In January 2008, Presidential Airways Inc. was awarded a $50.8 million contract for air transportation services using heavy fixed-wing aircraft in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. The sole-source contract was expected to run through June 2011 and was also awarded by the U.S. Transportation Command.
In 2006, the National Transportation Safety Board found that unprofessional behavior by a Presidential flight crew was a key cause of a Nov. 27, 2004, plane crash in Afghanistan in which six men died.
At the time, the company was transporting personnel, supplies, spare parts and mail in the Afghanistan combat zone under a $35 million Air Force contract.