Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Jackson Hole Airport to expand parking for public: Travelers will get 53 more spaces come May

Travelers will soon have a little extra space for their vehicles when flying out of Jackson Hole Airport. 

That’s possible because of a downsizing of space allocated for rental cars, which are a major source of revenue for the airport.

The change won’t take effect until May. It’s happening as new contracts take effect for rental companies that operate out of the federal airstrip north of Jackson.

“In the new bid process we’re looking at reducing the rental-car-ready positions by 53 spaces,” Airport Director Jim Elwood said. “We’re going to put it into public parking use since we’ve had a lot of interest.”

The change in store is not dramatic. It will switch over two rows of rental car companies’ designated parking area, 19 percent of their total space.

Currently 280 spots are designated for rental cars, while public parking amounts to 350 spots. After the switch the split will be 227 rental car spaces and 403 for the public.

Wyoming statute requires that 20 percent of parking at all Equality State airports be free. Jackson Hole Airport meets that requirement by charging nothing for all parking during the day, Elwood said, even though no portion of its public spaces is designated as free parking overnight.

The overnight parking fee is $12 a night.

Parking at the airport is complicated by its lease with Grand Teton National Park, which allows for only about 29 of the property’s 533 acres to be developed. That space is already maxed out, so the airport would need an amendment to its lease to plow up more sagebrush to make way for pavement.

Given that challenge, the airport’s long-term conceptual master plan calls for subterranean parking.

“But in the short term we don’t see that,” Elwood said. “That’s probably more like a 15- or 20-year outlook.”

Historically, fees and rent charged to rental car companies have been as large a source of revenue for Jackson Hole Airport as any other source of income. Rental companies Hertz, Enterprise, Avis and their subsidiaries are currently permitted to do business.

Rental car income will likely make up a much smaller portion of the pie in the wake of the airport’s acquisition of Jackson Hole Aviation, the fixed-based operator the airport is in the process of buying. It’s possible that the reduction in rental car parking spots also could cut into income, though Elwood said that’s impossible to predict.

“We don’t really know what the bids will be until they open in January,” he said. “Then I’ll be able to answer that question.”

A meeting for prospective on-airport rental car concessionaires has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at the airport. Companies have until Jan. 16 to bid on contracts that will be good through May 2021. For bid forms or contract documents contact Assistant Airport Director Michelle Anderson at

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