Airport Business

FEB-MAR 2018

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EXECUTIVE INTERVIEW 40 airportbusiness February/March 2018 GP: In August, we opened a new facility for Cutter Aviation FBO. Sierra Nevada Corporation is building a 60,000 square-foot hangar that will open in September. We have a World War II aviation museum and they've raised around $12 million for their next expansion. We have Peterson Air Force Base right here on the airfield. In fact, we're not technically joint military-civilian, but they are a tenant of the airport. The airport property is actually owned by the city of Colorado Springs. Our agreement with Peterson is that they don't pay us rent; they provide all our firefighting services. They've got 55 fully trained firefighters and they do a fantastic job for us. AB: Why do you think Colorado Springs Airport has become such an appealing place for aviation-related businesses? GP: I think having multiple military missions here has some- thing to do with it. The Forest Service has five C-130s that the Air Force donated to them to convert to firefighting. Peterson AFB's mission is maintaining C-130s. Sierra Nevada Corporation is build- ing a hangar to work on military-mission C-130s. There's a synergy here that just makes sense. Add to that, we've got a 13,501-foot runway that is the fifth-longest in the U.S. You have a transition- ing workforce that's skilled, smart and ready to work hard. I don't understand why anybody would go anywhere else. AB: Traffic at the airport rose 10.6 percent in 2016. What's driving this? GP: To be fair, much of our commercial inroads have been because of Frontier. They've grown, and as a result, when Frontier announced new flights, American responded by initiating twice daily service to Chicago O'Hare. As we've had the announcement of the flights and as the flights started and they have low fares, people are looking at Colorado Springs and more people are choosing Colorado Springs. All told, the numbers for most of our other carriers are up too, so we end up with what's pretty solid growth right now. AB: What are your goals going into the first half of 2018? GP: The clear message from our community is more commercial service and that drives many of our actions. We're continuing to sharpen our focus on air service development and how we utilize our staff and outside consulting, system support and how we com- municate with the airlines. It's something that the big airports are all really good. But smaller airports tend to dedicate fewer resources to it because they just don't have them. I want Colorado Springs to be the most aggressive small airport in the country when it comes to air service development because it's super important. As airport managers, we've all become business developers, so it's important for us to continue to build aerospace and aviation opportunities here and within the community. I'd love to see Colorado Springs be a center of excellence for aerospace and aviation development. We can support that through the incentives that we offer, our commercial aeronautical zone, our enterprise zone and our foreign trade zone. If we're inviting to aviation-based busi- nesses, we'll do everything we can to support them. We have 900 acres of prime land available for non-aeronautical development and we're putting conceptual plan together for that. Those are things that help spread our revenue base, help ensure stability in up and down times and help us keep our costs down. The last thing for me is customer service. That area again where I think small airports have a lot of opportunity and we intend for Colorado Springs to be a place where we reduce the stress of travel and provide great customer service. Connect with us http://bit.ly/2eftMRc http://bit.ly/2eOw3iR http://bit.ly/2eOt8GR

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