By Liz Segrist
Published May 15, 2014
The Charleston County Aviation Authority’s operating revenue for fiscal year 2015 is projected to increase by 8.1% from the year prior.
The authority voted to approve the budget for fiscal year 2015, beginning July 1, at its monthly board meeting this afternoon.
Revenue from parking fees and car rentals are projected to continue rising, up 13% and 6%, respectively for next year. Landing fees and the office park are expected to increase by 9% each, while fuel sales are expected to increase by 23%, according to a board documents.
The authority expects its operating expenses to increase by 5.4% due to personnel costs, benefits, administrative services, utilities, contractual services and insurance, professional and legal fees.
The budget includes plans for three staff additions, including a staff attorney that would report to the airports director, a legal assistant and a maintenance planner. There will be five title changes in the engineering department, but they will not impact the budget.
The aviation authority’s budget projections are based on, in part, a $200 million renovation project underway at the airport and an increase in both passengers and flights at the Charleston International Airport.
Roughly 622,000 passengers have arrived or departed from the airport during the first quarter of 2014, up 14.5% from the same time in 2013. For fiscal year 2015, the authority forecasts 2.9 million passengers will pass through the airport.
The airport currently has 18 daily non-stop destinations. The American and U.S. Airways merger is creating some opportunity at the local airport as the airline shifts around flights.
JetBlue Airways will add two nonstop flights from the Charleston airport to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport outside Washington, D.C., starting June 19. Southwest is considering the addition of nonstop service to the Charleston airport as well if it acquires two additional gates at Dallas Love Field.
The authority expects that the Terminal Redevelopment Improvement Program will having passengers spending more money at the new concessions and shops, as well as renting more cars through the new rental car pavilion.
The renovation project will upgrade the airport’s baggage claim areas, security checkpoints and terminals, as well as a new rental car center. The renovation budget has increased to deal with asbestos discovered during construction.
The story will be updated following today’s meeting. Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119 or @lizsegrist on Twitter.