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Council to consider managing airport itself

Posted: November 24, 2012 - 8:03pm

The new Conway Municipal Airport, which is planned to open in 2014, will be managed by the city, and the Conway City Council will begin taking steps to install a department head to run the airport.

After establishing an Airport Advisory Committee, the council will now consider a resolution that will place the airport as a department within the city. The committee recommended this to Conway Mayor Tab Townsell last week.

“The committee voted unanimously to recommend that the City take over the management of the new airport when it becomes operational by hiring a good manager who would report to the council,” said Bill Hegeman, chairman of the advisory committee. “It was the feeling of the committee that this would give us the greatest control of all the factors relative to the operation of a new facility, provide the highest revenue stream, better control investments in the new facility and better project the positive image that is desired in a general aviation airport.”

The committee includes Hegeman, William Adkisson, Brad Teague, Steve Magie, Fletcher Smith, Harrell Clendenin, Kevin Wish, Jack Bell and Ronnie Hall.

The city now utilizes a Fixed Base Operator to operate and manage the current airport with little or no input from city officials.

The new airport is on schedule for a late summer opening in 2014, according to Hall. The council will consider the acceptance of a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, which will be part of the numerous grants given from the agency and the state for the airport. A $7.5 million loan has been secured for the ability to finish the airport, until the sale of the old airport is complete. According to amounts given by Hall, the net cost of the new airport to the city is about $9 million.

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richweav
111
Points
richweav 11/24/12 - 09:23 pm
2
2
Another money pit. Most city

Another money pit. Most city airports employ an FBO. Little Rock is the closest example with Central Flying Service providing pilot services, fuel, etc. Let private enterprise prosper and get largely mismanaged city government out of the picture.

lachowsj
5195
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lachowsj 11/24/12 - 11:03 pm
3
0
Need a spellcheck for that headline?

Managing has only one 'n'.

Alan English
174
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Alan English 11/25/12 - 10:03 am
7
0
Typo fixed

Typo fixed

NoKidding
2460
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NoKidding 11/25/12 - 01:22 am
2
5
Cowtown managing an airport?

Bwaaa-haaa-haaa!

BigDaddyD
682
Points
BigDaddyD 11/25/12 - 08:41 am
4
2
Really?

Tax Townspend at it again.

Where will the money for the salary (or salaries) and department overhead come from?

What is wrong with the current system? I don't recall any recent issues with the airport budget or management.

Will the city be able to make the fog go away from the new airport in the early morning hours?

Mr. Spock
760
Points
Mr. Spock 11/25/12 - 01:50 pm
6
0
@BigDaddyD

Fog? How is Conway's new airport going to be any different than the LR airport or the other hundreds of airports across the country that are built next to rivers, lakes and oceans. Here are just a few in the region that are within 2 miles of such bodies of water; Little Rock, Hot Springs, Fort Smith, West Memphis, Dewitt Spain (north Memphis), Shreveport-Downtown, Barksdale Air Force Base, Norman OK, Dallas-Fort Worth and last but not least the existing Conway airport. There is as much fog from Lake Conway as there is from the river but the new airport has a very big advantage over the old one. It has the possibility of having an ILS (instrument landing system). That will allow planes to navigate down through clouds/fog to an altitude of 200 feet AGL (above ground level). The current airport only has a GPS approach with a minimum of 645 feet AGL.

188fw_flyngRzrbk
1844
Points
188fw_flyngRzrbk 11/25/12 - 11:13 am
3
2
Why jump into the perpetual

Why jump into the perpetual cash drain of another department of city government? A private FBO is what is needed here. Spell out what the performance expectations are, let private enterprise bid on the services and in return, allow the private FBO to pay the city for the franchise. If the city is so inclined, allow a city operated FBO to compete with the private FBO - in the interest of a high level of service and competition, in either case, it should be revenue generating not a perpetual expense.

sevenof400
7002
Points
sevenof400 11/25/12 - 11:40 am
6
1
Somewhere in all of this...

...the city should make its case (in public) on how it thinks it can profitably run the airport..

Sargosailor
11
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Sargosailor 11/25/12 - 11:44 am
5
0
Best news I've heard!

The cash for salaries and expenses will come from where they always come from....the users. If a private FBO operates the airport, additional expenses in the form of lease payments accrue to the user. I am not against the "right" FBO but something needs to change to benefit general aviation.

arc50
165
Points
arc50 11/25/12 - 12:52 pm
6
2
Does anyone actually believe

Does anyone actually believe there will be enough money generated from the users to pay for a govt operated airport in conway. No its going to have to be subsidized by the police an fire departments and another tax increase. We already know the parks and this airport are first that needs to be funded.

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