Sunday, December 13, 2020

Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority hikes fees on tenants

Despite pleas from tenants to delay fee hikes while the coronavirus pandemic ravages their industry, the Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority unanimously approved fuel and landing fee increases Wednesday. The new rates go into effect next month.

Airport authority members didn’t discuss the increases in a 6-0 vote. New Porter County representative Wes Kotys abstained, saying he wasn’t familiar enough with the recommendation from airport executive director Duane Hayden.

Last month, officials from three tenants asked authority members to delay increases because the pandemic has throttled the aviation industry. The tenants who voiced concern were B. Coleman Aviation, the Gary Jet Center and Sage-Popovich Inc. All maintain hangars at the airport and have expanded corporate and business aviation operations in the past decade.

John Girzadas, president of B. Coleman Aviation, attended Wednesday’s meeting and issued a statement afterward:

“We are very disappointed that they moved this forward, especially without discussion, during this pandemic. To us it does not seem like the right time to raise fees on the users of the airport when all travel is being hurt by the current health and economic crisis. We hope that they will reconsider this at the next meeting.”

Meanwhile, the authority renewed the contract of Hayden through 2021. His salary remains at its present level. Officials didn’t disclose the salary but Indiana Gateway, a public database, reported his 2019 compensation at $148,799.88.

The board also renewed the consulting contract of Dan Vicari, executive director of the Gary Sanitary and Stormwater District. No amount was disclosed.


  1. Fuel fee changing from 15 cents per gallon to 25 cents per gallon, landing fee changing from $2 per 1000 lbs to $2.50. Changes were supposed to go into effect during 2020 but were delayed a while.

    Always a mystery that some articles leave out the "how much" details.

    1. That's pretty modest, and seeing how GA hasn't been negatively impacted nearly to the level as Part 121, I doubt their appeal to current circumstances was effective.

    2. I don't know how anyone can see where a 167% increase in fuel fees is a "modest" rate increase. For a Challenger 300 owner, that 2,000 gallons of Jet A means $200 more in fuel fees. I'm pretty certain you wouldn't say a rise in fuel per gallon for your vehicle by 167% would be a modest increase from $2/gallon to $3.35/gallon. The landing fee rate is more palatable at a still large and far from modest 25% rate increase.

  2. A local airport in SW Oregon run by the port basically killed off substantial traffic with landing fees. Local economy took hits while port collects far less than projected by their government salaried directors. Same with pilots wanting to lease ground at reasonable rates. Another airport thinks it’s ground rent is so valuable that no one has taken out a lease and the bare ground sits there producing negative income. Funny thing is airport operators get paid wether they get ground rented or not. To bad for pilots they supposedly work for.

  3. "Funny thing is airport operators get paid whether they get ground rented or not. To bad for pilots they supposedly work for."

    One of the many "giving back" perks of being a government worker, be it city municipal airport manager making $70K or a New York City mayor who still gets his $200K salary while shutting down the income of New York City restaurant owners and workers. But hey: government knows best for you because they have your best interest first!

    God help this nation full of useful idiots for their power and control.