Passenger traffic at Port Columbus has been flat this year, but it's up at Rickenbacker Airport. And that is helping the latter, known traditionally for handling cargo, to qualify for funding programs that would let it make improvements.
Passenger traffic at Port Columbus has been flat this year, but it’s up at Rickenbacker Airport. And that is helping the latter, known traditionally for handling cargo, to qualify for funding programs that would let it make improvements.
The number of people who flew out of Rickenbacker recently topped the 10,000 mark for the first time since 2008. This automatically bumps the airport’s funding from the Federal Aviation Administration to $1 million, up from $150,000.
In addition, reaching that goal allows it to compete for funds under the Military Airport Program, said Elaine Roberts, CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which operates Port Columbus, Rickenbacker and Bolton Field.
It’s a program “for military airports converting to civilian use or joint civilian and military use,” she said.
The airport authority will compete against other airports for these funds, which can be as much as $7 million, spread over up to five years. They must be used for capital improve ments such as passenger terminal buildings, hangars and air-cargo buildings, parking lots and fuel facilities.
“They’re intended for revenue-generating projects,” Roberts said.
Rickenbacker’s proposed budget for capital improvements in 2014 is $15.2 million for infrastructure and road improvements and engineering upgrades.
The increase in passenger traffic at Rickenbacker is almost totally attributed to Allegiant Air flights. The airline accounted for 19,941 of the 20,852 passengers who flew out of or into Rickenbacker through the end of September.
In other airport-related news:
• Delta Air Lines will cancel its Columbus-to-Memphis direct flights starting in January, according to Port Columbus officials. Memphis-bound passengers can get there via a connecting flight.
• The Transportation Security Administration’s pre-check program came to Port Columbus about two weeks ago. The program allows select frequent fliers “to receive expedited screening benefits. Eligible participants use dedicated screening lanes for screening benefits which include leaving on shoes, light outerwear and belts, as well as leaving laptops and … compliant liquids in carry-on bags,” according to the TSA’s website.
To register for the TSA program: www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck.
©2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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