How's the airport doing?

Hank Hayes • Dec 23, 2019 at 8:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE -- Tri-Cities Airport’s financial position improved slightly during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, according to the airport’s annual financial report.

The airport’s net position showed a 2.4% increase due to completing “several large construction projects” which resulted in an increase in net capital assets as well as an increase in capital contributions, the report said.

Those construction projects included a passenger boarding bridge, a new general aviation hangar and aviation fuel farm, and new airport snow removal equipment.

The financial report contained no findings.

The 421,440 travelers using the airport gave ridership a 6.5% spike. Delta Airlines provides an average of seven flights daily to Atlanta, American Airlines has five daily flights to Charlotte and added air service to Dallas-Fort Worth in September. Allegiant Air has low-fare service to Orlando and St. Petersburg/Clearwater.

Parking contributed the most revenue, $2.4 million, to the airport’s $7.2 million in total operating revenues. At its meeting on Thursday, Airport Authority commissioners awarded an engineering contract toward a passenger parking lot expansion.

The financial report noted business travelers account for about 55-60% of the airport’s customer base. “However, with a business market and only two network carriers, (the airport) is subject to higher fares and potentially vulnerable to airline bankruptcies and mergers,” the report pointed out.

The airport continues to pursue new air service to Nashville, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Fort Lauderdale, said Kristi Haulsee, the airport’s director of Marketing and Air Service Development.

Still, the financial report reflects why the airport is key to regionalism, said Airport Authority Vice Chairman Todd Hensley.

“This is a really great example, I think (former President Ronald) Reagan said it, of what can happen when nobody cares who gets the credit,” Hensley noted. “This is an extremely well-run organization.”

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