Sunday, March 09, 2014

Cape Air wants passengers to park for free Provincetown Municipal Airport (KPVC), Massachusetts

A proposal to charge for parking at the Provincetown Municipal Airport didn't fly with Cape Air spokesperson Michelle Haynes.


A proposal to charge for parking at the Provincetown Municipal Airport didn’t fly with Cape Air spokesperson Michelle Haynes.

"It has come up before; it is something we’re very concerned about,” she told the finance committee last week. “Our request to you … is that you look at this very closely and what this may do to us as a business.”

The problem, Haynes said, is that the small airline operates at a deficit seven months a year and faces stiff competition from fast ferries and cars. Free parking is a perk of landing in Provincetown, she said, adding that 80 percent of the vehicles parked there sport resident parking permits on their windshields.

Mike Valenti, chair of the airport commission, said Monday that the airline relies on — in fact it needs — 10,000 paid passengers to fly out of Provincetown to receive about $1 million in federal grants a year. The $95,000 that the town has budgeted for the airport doesn’t cover big projects required to keep it up and running, he added. Thus, a dip in passenger numbers could kill its funding and possibly the airline’s operation here.

Mike Canizales, chair of the FinCom, said that his committee is looking to “moderately raise” embarkation rates for everyone and feels that those who can afford to fly can afford to park.

But, Haynes responded, there’s got to be perks to flying out of Provincetown because landing in Logan International Airport is a hassle.

“We are here today [through winter] at six passengers a day,” she said. “We are here year-round. … That’s a major difference.”

 And yet FinCom members were adamant that a $5 or $10 parking charge wouldn’t hurt people who can afford to fly.

  “You’re getting into a chunk of money that can help with a lot of priorities,” Canizales said, and seemed surprised to find that Cape Air rents parking spaces to Enterprise Rent-A-Car. “So we give you parking for free and you rent it out?”

 Haynes said that she’d return with relevant financial and passenger numbers. Meanwhile Clarence Walker, another FinCom member, would like those who park at the airport for two or three months for free while they vacation in the winter to pay up. Haynes agreed that something should be done about that. 

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