City to underwrite airline’s advertising for Phoenix flight
BY KEVIN DUGGAN • KevinDuggan@coloradoan.com • August 19, 2010
Advertising for Allegiant Air’s recently announced service from Fort Collins-Loveland Airport to the Phoenix area will be subsidized by the airport.
The airline will be reimbursed up to $30,000 in marketing expenses under an agreement approved Tuesday by the city councils of Fort Collins and Loveland. The airport is owned by the two cities.
The company is expected to advertise the twice-a-week service, which is scheduled to begin in October, on cable television and in regional newspapers, including the Coloradoan, city officials said.
The contract also calls for Allegiant to receive a six-month waiver of some airport landing fees that is projected to reach $5,200.
The Fort Collins City Council approved the agreement on a 4-3 vote despite some members taking issue with the timing of the agreement and last week’s announcement of the service.
Mayor pro tem Kelly Ohlson said the city had been “played” by the company. The council should have considered the subsidy before a news conference was held to promote the service, he said.
Ohlson also said he found it “surreal” that the airline would want a subsidy from the municipally owned airport at a time when some corporations are calling for less government regulation.
“How weird is this?” he said. “If I had a company right now, I’d be in line for the city to pay for advertising in the Coloradoan and on cable TV.”
Some residents with homes along the airport’s flight paths urged the council to reject the contract. Longtime resident Chuck Washington said the airline doesn’t need the deal.
“I think they’ll do these flights anyhow even if we don’t do the subsidy or cut the subsidy back.” he said.
Washington said there are numerous issues surrounding the airport that should be revisited, including its mission, business plan and impact on property values.
Council member David Roy said the city shouldn’t “dance” to the company’s tune.
The city has said it would not promote the growth of commercial airline service at the airport, he said, and yet it provides subsidies for service.
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