Thursday, August 24, 2017

Dixon Municipal Airport (C73), Lee County, Illinois: Board decides fill-ups won’t fix revenue issue

DIXON – The Dixon Municipal Airport Board looked into ways to boost fuel sales Thursday to help get the facility closer to breaking even, but decided that avenue was a no-go.

The goal during the past year has been to find ways to improve the airport and make it as self sufficient as possible, and the city spent about $25,000 on a consultant in 2016 to conduct a feasibility study on how to do that and to determine whether it was better off shutting it down.

Ron Price, principle of Florida-based QED Airport and Aviation Consultants, gave different combinations of options the airport could try, such as instituting different management styles and allowing third parties to build private hangars.

Included in all the recommendations was to pursue aggressive fuel pricing – basically, buying more, selling it for less and drawing a more pilots looking for the best bargain.

The problem with that is the airport already keeps prices down to compete with neighbors, and buying more wouldn’t necessarily translate into selling more unless it was heavily promoted, board member Dave Flenner said.

“It’s an impasse where there’s no real gain one way or the other,” board member Dave Flenner said.

The board discussed whether it would be worth it to have the city buy the fuel in larger quantities instead of the fixed-base operator Clay Breneman, owner of Breneman Aircraft Services who handles fuel sales, but there’s no guarantee of savings.

The airport sold about 6,500 gallons of fuel last year. To buy in bulk, it would need to order at least 8,500 gallons, which would probably save them around 10 cents a gallon, but that still wouldn’t be enough of a discount to draw pilots going out of their way to gas up, board member Brian Brown said.

Another problem: The fuel’s shelf-life is about 9 months.

Breneman said he would buy a full load if it would sell, but that’s not likely.

The board approved a recommendation to the City Council that there would be no gain for the aggressive fuel pricing model.

The board also ...

• Said talks about sharing grant funds with the Whiteside County Airport are still on hold and that Mayor Li Arellano Jr. is looking into whether a partnership could lead to economic development opportunities.

• Discussed moving forward with replacing the lighting on its main runway; the project will go to bid in October with most of the cost being covered by Federal Aviation Administration grant dollars.

• Discussed the possibility of having a flea market in front of the airport hosted by Amy Fenwick, owner of Roxie’s Boutique.

Original article can be found here ➤

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