The Spokane Airport Board will enter 2017 with a budget that’s up about 25 percent over this year’s budget, an increase that it says is due entirely to a planned boost in capital spending.
The city of Spokane and Spokane County, which jointly own and operate Spokane International Airport, Felts Field Airport, and the 600-acre Airport Business Park on the West Plains, approved the $72 million budget earlier this month. The Airport Board is the operating authority for Spokane Airports, a name used to refer to the three facilities collectively.
Todd Woodard, spokesman for Spokane Airports, says the airport’s operating budget has stayed relatively flat.
“The increase is mostly due to the timing (of capital projects), both in gaining necessary funding and in the amount of time needed for staff to complete projects,” he says.
Woodard says the process of obtaining funding for capital projects is cyclical, which determines whether that budget will increase or decrease for the coming year.
“It’s a process that depends on the funding cycle of the FAA as well as our ability to pre-collect cash to fund projects,” he says.
The 2016 capital budget, for example, was 14 percent lower than the 2015 capital budget.
Woodard says upcoming work at Spokane International Airport include a $5.2 million south pilot ramp rehabilitation project and a $4 million project to upgrade explosive detection systems and improve the airport’s checked baggage resolution areas. Also scheduled is continuing utility site work for a planned convenience store near the airport’s economy lot.
“We’re also in the midst of replacing the terminal’s elevators, as well as a variety of other security-related projects both in the terminal and on the airfield,” Woodard says.
He adds that additional projects are being considered for the coming year, although they might or might not occur, depending on time constraints.
Woodard says next year’s projected expenditures are divided into three primary areas, with Spokane International Airport comprising 92 percent, the Airport Business Park 3 percent, and Felts Field 5 percent of the budget total.
The Spokane International Airport budget is $66.7 million, with $31.2 million devoted to operations and $35.5 million to capital projects. The Airport Business Park budget of $1.8 million includes $225,000 for capital projects, and the Felts Field budget of $3.9 million includes $2.8 million for capital projects.
Funds also have been allocated for marketing, maintenance projects, strategic planning, and design of future capital projects, including improvements to infrastructure and buildings.
Other notable changes in the 2017 Spokane Airports budget include increases in landing fee rates, terminal lease rates, and ground transportation trip fees.
The 2017 landing fee rate will be $2.06 per 1,000 pounds of landed weight, an increase of 4.5 percent from 2016.
The terminal lease rate will be $50.82 per square foot a year, an increase of 4 percent.
Although there is no change in regular parking rates, the ground transportation trip fee, which the airport charges to outside shuttle services, is budgeted at $1.00 per trip, increasing to $1.50 per trip beginning July 1, 2017.
The airport facilities all are operated and maintained using revenues derived from rents and fees generated at the facilities. None of them receive appropriated tax dollars.
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