The Aberdeen Airport Board will spend the next month deciding how much to raise the rates the airport charges private hangars and fixed-base operators.
Following a motion by Rolf Johnson, the board voted Thursday to table action on the rates until its December meeting. Johnson said time is needed to research the issue and discuss rates with representatives of fixed-base operators, or FBOs, and private hangars.
Airport manager Mike Wilson said rates charged private hangars haven't changed since 2007. Amounts charged for FBO hangars and cold storage were adjusted last year.
Several representatives of FBOs and hangars were at the meeting. Kevin Braun of Quest Aviation said general and corporate aviation are in decline. Corporate aviation hasn't recovered from the recession, he said. Aviation has a long ways to go to get back to where it was five or six years ago, Braun said.
In preparing to review the hangar and FBO rates, Wilson obtained numbers charged by other airports in South Dakota and Jamestown, N.D.
He said the airport’s costs are rising and that the Federal Aviation Administration wants every airport to be as self-sustaining as possible.
Currently, the Aberdeen airport charges private hangars 11 cents per square foot per year for the hangar and approach area. The annual charge is 18 cents per square foot for an FBO shop and office and 11 cents per square foot for an FBO hangar or cold storage. Fuel storage areas and ground space are charged 5 cents per square foot per year.
Landing fees are charged to commercial flying operations. SkyWest Airlines is charged 53 cents per 1,000 pounds of the jet's gross weight every time it lands in Aberdeen. Cargo operators, such as FedEx and UPS, pay $8 per landing in Aberdeen.
Landing fees need to be assessed for heavy aircraft because of wear and tear on runways, Wilson said after the meeting.
During the meeting, Wilson reported that a meeting to plan for snow and ice control was Nov. 1.
Aberdeen pilot Darrell Hillestad and others talked about the importance of keeping snow off the runways and other safety measures. The subject of turnover among airport employees and the compensation they receive was also discussed. Wilson said turnover is no greater at the airport than at other city departments.
Wilson gave an update on the remodeling of the terminal that's under way. He said the baggage claim area should be back inside the terminal by late November or early December. A temporary structure is now being used outside.
Attending the meeting were four representatives of Helms and Associates, which is the airport's consulting engineer. Engineer Sam Muntean, who did a lot of work with the airport, has left the firm to return to his native Minnesota. Terry Helms was on hand to show the board who will do the work formerly performed by Muntean. He was accompanied by Corey Helms, Michael Schmit and Brooke Edgar. He credited Edgar for helping speed up a recent finding of no significant impact on an environmental assessment for an airport project.
At the end of the meeting, Braun said it would be nice to see more lighting in the private hangar area. Wilson told him he would meet with him about the issue.