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Airport approves budget

It includes money for upgrades and doesn't tap reserves.

June 09, 2010|By Christopher Cadelago

AIRPORT DISTRICT — Bob Hope Airport officials Monday unanimously approved a $96-million budget that will pay for several major infrastructure projects, such as runway improvements and work on a new regional transit center.

The 2010-11 budget for the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority comes amid a drop in passenger traffic, fluctuating fuel costs and overall uncertainty regarding the national economic recovery. Despite ballooning more than $20 million over the last year, the budget does not increase charges to airlines or rely on reserves.

The 555-acre airport, which serves about 5 million passengers annually and houses some 45 private jets, also maintained investments in programs to enhance environmental sustainability.

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"Because of the uncertainty that we believe we continue to face, the budget has been developed with a cautious eye on the economic situation heading into the next fiscal year," said Kathy David, the airport's director of administrative services. "The second area that we also see uncertainty is regarding what our air carriers will do for service at Bob Hope Airport. They continue to work and rework their schedules to optimize their resources."

The budget forecasts a loss of $825,000 from investments and a $307,000 dip in landing fees due to the indecisive scheduling. Southwest Airlines recently announced plans to phase out 12% of its weekly flights by September, although other carriers have added flights.

Included in the budget is $4.5 million for a passenger processing system, $11 million to rehabilitate two ramps and a runway shoulder, and $18 million on a regional transportation center.

The proposed $120-million center, which is working its way through the approval process, would link the airport with passenger trains, shuttles, buses, taxicabs and rental cars.

Airport commissioner Frank Logan, a member of the finance committee, reviewed the budget in five sessions before recommending it to the full commission. The group's guiding principle, he said, was "don't spend the money if we don't have it."

"All in all, I think that it's fair to say that members of the finance committee are satisfied with the results," Logan said.

Operation and maintenance costs rose by roughly 4% over last year, to $35.9 million, according to the authority.

Although parking revenue showed significant improvements in April and May, passenger traffic for the year has been slower to recover. Total passenger traffic in April was down 8% from the previous year, bringing the year-to-date figure down to 3.7%, airport records show.

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