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"Study looks for ways to turn around Texas airport's declining revenues"

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Study looks for ways to turn around Georgetown airport's declining revenues
By Claire Osborn

If the Georgetown Municipal Airport doesn't come up with new ways to make
money, it could be operating at a loss by 2014, said Ed Polasek, the
transportation director for Georgetown.

The Georgetown City Council approved $100,000 this month for a study to be
done by CH2MHill, a Colorado-based consulting and design company, on the
business practice at the airport and how to bring in more revenue.

Currently the city, which owns the airport at 500 Terminal Road, depends
mostly on money from fuel sales to pay for the operation and maintenance of
the airport, but those sales are declining, Polasek said.

He said fuel sales are going to bring in about $3 million during this budget
year, a $25,000 decline from the previous year.

If the revenue from fuel sales falls an additional $25,000 during the next
budget year and maintenance needs at the airport keep increasing, the city
could deplete the $205,000 surplus in the airport fund by 2014, Polasek

Part of the reason fuel sales are declining is that another airport - the
Austin Executive Airport - has opened in Pflugerville and has a longer
runway, he said.

"They are getting the jet traffic we used to get," he said.

People also aren't flying as much as they used to, Polasek said.

The study should be ready in four to six months, said Chip Snowden, the
southeast region aviation director at CH2MHill. He said the study will
include details on how other airports make money.

Georgetown is the only city in Central Texas that has a city-owned airport
that is run from a separate airport fund instead of the city's general fund,
Polasek said. If the airport starts losing money it would have to draw money
from the city's general fund, he said.

The 640-acre airport has 113 spaces in 10 city-owned hangars that it leases,
Polasek said. It also leases land to people who have built their own hangars
at the airport, he said.

The airport, built in 1943 and in city hands since 1969, also has two
runways, a terminal and a control tower. It has about 260 aircraft and
125,000 landings and takeoffs per year, Polasek said.

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