The Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority’s Board of Commissioners met virtually Tuesday night to discuss one of its newest routes, approve a grant application and discuss 2021 goals.
Two of the agenda items were dedicated to approving incentives for Allegiant Air. The first flight of the airline’s year-round service to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, took off on Feb. 12. The board approved incentives to make the airlines’ first couple of years a little more lucrative.
“The first two years are often the weakest for a route, so this helps them,” said Angela Padalecki, executive director of the airport.
The board approved a marketing incentive agreement with Allegiant. This means that the airport will provide Allegiant $25,000 worth of support to market its new route to John Wayne. The other item that the board approved was an operational incentive agreement.
The airport authority will waive 100% of Allegiant’s landing fees for 24 months and joint-use space rent charges for 12 months. It will also waive 50% of joint-use space rent for the following 12 months. Joint-use rent is allocated on a per-passenger basis, Padalecki said, so those waivers only apply to any flights to John Wayne.
The board also voted unanimously to authorize Padalecki to sign and submit a grant application to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The grant is for $1 million and will be applied for an airport development plan. The Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority will work with Intervistas, a consulting company, and the FAA to scope their situation and hone in on what could be developed.
Those conversations will begin in March.
“The first step in this is just us applying for a grant from the FAA,” Padalecki said.
Finally, the board spent the bulk of its time discussing its goals for 2021.
One of those goals, for example, is that the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority would like to meet the benchmark of 63% of its passengers from 2019, which is 5% better than its budget, and recover at a faster pace than the national average. That plays into the airport’s larger goal of making a full recovery from the pandemic by 2022. Last year, the airport did see a dip in business because of the COVID-19 pandemic but was above the national average.
The board also hopes to modernize airport governance, improve financial sustainability, grow non-airline revenue and increase its community engagement.