Plane logic

Without soliciting bids, Orlando International Airport staff recommended two contractors be stripped of multi-million-dollar jobs in favor of less experienced firms, one with longtime airport ties.

The Orlando Business Journal reports that URS Greiner, of San Francisco, and Parsons Brinkerhoff, of Cincinnati, may lose $10 million each if the recommendations are adopted. The winners would be HNTB and ZHA. HNTB is an Orlando firm with a national reputation and a $2.1 million airport contract awarded in January. ZHA, run by Richard Zipperly of Orlando, is a longtime consultant to the airport.

The contracts are for design and construction of the airport's new taxiway and a fourth terminal. Greiner and Parsons bid for and won the contracts last year. Neither has been criticized for its work.

So why the change? OIA executive director Egerton van den Berg says the taxiway work "calls for a special type of experience, which Howard Needles of HNTB has in abundance," according to the Business Journal, while "ZHA is more familiar with the airport." The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority board still must sign off on the change.