ALLEGHENY COUNTY AIRPORT AUTHORITY BOARD APPROVES 2009 BUDGET
PITTSBURGH, PA (October 24, 2008) – The Allegheny County Airport Authority Board of Directors approved the $88,937,420 budget for 2009 today. This budget is a conservative estimate of what operating expenses plus debt service will be in 2009. It will be presented to the airlines at a meeting next month.
The Airport Authority was able to hold increases to this budget to 1.7 percent over last year, despite a projected increase in utility costs and contracted services costs.
“The rates and charges can be reduced with more flights and passengers at the airport. Also if costs related to fuel, deicing and utilities are lower, those savings can be passed onto the airlines,” explained Bradley D. Penrod, Executive Director/CEO, Allegheny County Airport Authority.
Pittsburgh International Airport was built to handle about 30 million passengers. Funding for construction was guaranteed by the airlines in a long term residual lease as part of the Airline Operating Agreement. As such, there is a mortgage cost that needs to be paid on the facility, which is the debt service totaling $62 million in 2009.
The Airport Authority is looking into ways to restructure debt service to lower costs as it did in 2008. Debt service was reduced by $10 million dollars by restructuring a portion of the debt.
Mr. Penrod also points out that today Pittsburgh International Airport is, out of necessity, taking on more and more of the services that were once performed by airlines including baggage system maintenance, jetway servicing, deicing services, flight information monitors and common use kiosk check-in systems.
“We have to maintain a safe and secure facility, and the airlines and passengers expect quality facilities and services here in Pittsburgh. Another area of endeavor for the Airport Authority is economic development. We continue to seek enterprising ways to increase the number of flights and passengers at the airport. We are also realizing tremendous gains in attracting development to property surrounding the airport,” he added.
Another important factor that has impacted the airlines industry nationwide has been the reduction of flights based on the summer’s rising fuel costs. Airlines have cut flights nationwide this fall and many airports are facing similar budget challenges. Should fuel costs continue to drop, it is likely that more flights may be added. More passengers will help to lower the cost of operations.
All costs of operating Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County Airport are paid for by the airlines and tenants of the airport. No local tax dollars are used to fund airport operations.