Approved Concessions During Long Runway Closure

At the September 2022 City Council meeting, the Augusta City Council voted to accept the Airport Advisory Board recommendation to approve the following concessions to Augusta Municipal Airport aviation tenants during the longer runway construction closure currently scheduled for Spring, 2024:

  • 30% discount on monthly rent/lease payment for all aviation tenants (commercial aviation tenants, hangar tenants, and tie down tenants) during the long runway closure).
  • Commercial aviation tenants to receive 30% discount on rent/lease for an additional period equal to ½ of the time the runway was closed during the long closure, to commence once the runway reopens, contingent upon commercial tenants returning to the same pre-closure level of employment and based aircraft (if applicable) at the airport
While the concessions are a compromise that not everyone will like, here are a few considerations:

  • Augusta is a taxpayer funded public airport. Our operating revenue does not cover operating expenses (even before concessions are factored in), so any budget shortfalls come from Augusta, KS taxpayers.
  • The runway reconstruction project is currently estimated at $11+ Million. We are receiving 90% from the FAA, but must still come up with 10%, locally, which is close to $1.2 mil (which includes a couple of items ineligible for grant funding), also coming from Augusta taxpayers.
  • We checked with KDOT, FAA, a couple of airport consultants, Kansas Association of Airport members, and multiple airport management and airport professional trade organizations to research what other airports have done during such a long closure and could not find a single instance of a General Aviation Airport offering concessions to its tenants during runway closures.
  • Although other airports haven’t offered concessions to GA Airports, the Airport Advisory Board, airport manager, and ultimately, City Council has offered the above concessions to the airport’s aviation tenants, not because it was required, but because we felt it was the right thing to do in an effort to lessen the impact of the long runway closure.
  • Runway closures are a part of operating and maintaining an airport. Our runway is in terrible shape. The closure will address numerous problems at one time and will ensure that the airport can serve the community’s needs for years to come.
  • Throughout the last few months, the airport advisory board and I wanted to make sure you had an opportunity to learn about the project and had an opportunity to communicate your concerns or desires to City Council in a transparent and collaborative manner.
  • While the long runway closure isn’t scheduled until Spring, 2024, we wanted to get the closure and concession information out to you early enough, so you have plenty of time to make alternative plans if you need to temporarily relocate to another airport during the closure. We realize that hangar wait lists within the region may take a while and wanted to make sure you were armed with the information well in advance.
  • While the airport manager at El Dorado said he could install some tiedowns in the grass to help accommodate a dozen or so aircraft from Augusta (for a fee), he said he doesn’t have hangar availability.
  • If you temporarily relocate during the long closure, we hope you will keep your hangar/tiedown, etc., but we also understand if you can’t or won’t. You can give 30-day notice and vacate your hangar for the long closure if you prefer not to pay any rent during this timeframe. Per your request, we can place you on the hangar wait list and depending on how many vacate their hangars, you may end up getting a hangar or may have a wait.
  • We were asked about giving preferential placement on the wait list for tenants that decide to leave during the closure. We are unable to do so for these reasons:
    • We are federally obligated (receive federal grant funding) and must comply with federal grant assurances that require us to treat everyone equally. That is the reason we are unable to give greater discounts for active tenants and lesser discounts for inactive tenants. That is also the reason why we are unable to give preferential treatment to those on the hangar wait list.
    • Another reason for not giving preferential treatment on the hangar wait list is to maintain the integrity of the list. We have a documented process of placing people on the list, contacting people on the list, etc. when hangars become available, all to maintain the integrity of the list. We’ve faced numerous occasions when we were asked to make exceptions and have not strayed from our process in order to treat everyone equally and fairly, maintaining the integrity of the wait list.

The airport also took great care to communicate and collaborate with tenants, giving tenants a voice in the process and ensuring tenants had the information early enough to be able to plan accordingly.