Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Possible fee increase at Four Corners Regional Airport (KFMN), Farmington, New Mexico

FARMINGTON – City officials say they are continuing their work to improve reliability at Four Corners Regional Airport.

The Farmington City Council will discuss a resolution at this morning’s work session that would raise a handful of fees related to private aircraft operations and improve services. The fees would also generate more money for the city.

“There is the benefit of additional revenue,” said Bob Campbell, assistant city manager.

Campbell did not know the exact revenue increase but said that the additional funds are only an extra benefit.

The resolution is more about continuing to improve the airport’s facilities and services than generating more money for the city, he said.

It calls for an increase in fees for use and rental of shade covers, and it adds new fee categories for large hangars, aircraft passenger airstairs, gate card reactivation, hangar waiting lists and aircraft emergency maintenance personnel call-out.

Many of the new fees are geared toward helping ensure reliable service for the airport’s private, noncommercial pilots, Campbell said.

“A few years ago, the shade hangar renters wanted electricity brought out, too,” he said.

The city hooked up the hangars to electricity but did not impose an additional charge on the renters at the time, Campbell said. Now the city is incorporating that into their fees, he said.

“We’re trying to keep a best practice, good, level playing field,” Campbell said. “The most important is that we have professional operations for the airport. We do the right things for an airport that serves (a city of) 47,000 people.”

Mayor Tommy Roberts echoed many of Campbell’s comments and added that Todd Gressick, airport manager, and city staff are continually looking for ways to improve service.

Efforts to negotiate additional service contracts with airlines other than Great Lakes, Farmington’s only commercial air service provider, have yielded no results.

Although Gressick continues to attempt to recruit airlines to serve Farmington, Roberts said the city is focused on improving the services it offers now.

“We’re working with Great Lakes to provide certainty to our travelers, to take off and land as scheduled,” he said.

“I think we’re open to discussion of ideas of how to expand our commercial air service, but it’s a hard game to play in and small, rural communities like Farmington are at a disadvantage.”