Palo Alto City Finance Committee began looking at the possibility of managing the local Palo Alto airport. Up to now it has been under county management with a contract that expires in little less than seven years. The county will not extend their lease, and will not make any repairs in the meantime.
The Finance Committee “unanimously agreed that the city should take the airport over from the county as soon as possible”, according to Palo Alto online (PAO). The committee is looking at having a plan in motion by December.
The city is between a rock and a hard place. The FAA requires airports to remain open (even if they are not profitable). Other options to use the land also require FAA approval-which can take years. The airport largely serves non-residents of Palo Alto. A good portion of the revenue comes in from monthly tie-down fees charged to plane owners to park their planes.
Even though the airport exceeded yearly revenues by $808,000, according to PAO, during the first 39 years while under county control, the council is certain that they can turn it around into a money making proposition for the city. Exactly how they plan to do that is yet to be disclosed.
The difficulty for the council is lack of choices it has in the matter. The only choice is when to take it over-in 2017 when it needs further repairs or sooner so that the city can put into motion plans to make it profitable.