Local airport important to economy
By TOBY FREEMAN Guest Writer | Posted: Saturday, February 25, 2012 10:00 pm
A recent letter to the editor remarked on the fact that United and SkyWest Airlines are not listed in the Yellow Pages. We noticed that, too, and the city is doing something about it.
The next edition of the local telephone books will include airline advertisements. After all, if folks don’t know whom to contact for a flight reservation, they are a lot less likely to use the Klamath Falls Airport!
The “we” I am writing about is the Klamath Falls Airport Futures Group.
Last May, the Klamath Falls City Council, recognizing the importance of the Klamath Falls Airport to our local culture and economy, authorized the city manager to seek volunteers and appoint members to a group tasked with developing a strategic plan for the airport’s future.
The issue: the Klamath Falls Airport generates over $400 million a year in economic activity for Klamath County, but is dependent on city taxpayers for approximately half of its operating costs.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that a business venture that spends twice what it makes is unsustainable. The City Council recognized this, and took steps to assure that such a critical piece of our local economy is no longer placed at such unnecessary risk.
In order to continue playing its important role in the local economy, a strategy must be developed to make the airport a self-supportive enterprise.
The Klamath Falls Airport Futures Group has been meeting about twice a month since mid-July. We are now working to summarize our findings in a presentation to the City Council in early March.
While there are no “silver bullet” solutions, we members of the Airport Futures Group have learned quite a bit about the airport’s operations and opportunities.
We look forward to sharing our findings with you over the coming months, and we know you will be interested. We all recognize that the airport is the reason we have F-15s gracing our local skies, commercial air service to both Portland and San Francisco and a thriving private aircraft business all helping keep Klamath County’s economy afloat.
Let’s make sure that together, we keep it that way.
Toby Freeman is chairman of the Klamath Falls Airport Futures Group.
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