ALAMOSA — The Alamosa Airport Advisory Board discussed its need for improved parking, Denver Air Connection costs and scheduling as well as Fixed Base Operator numbers at its bi-monthly meeting held on Thursday.
San Luis Valley Regional Airport manager Will Hickman led the discussion on the airport’s parking lot, presenting renderings of two options of increased parking with 45-degree angled spaces and 60-degree angled spaces.
Hickman said that the 60-degree spaces offered more parking at a better cost than the 45-degree spaces.
It was brought up by others at the meeting that the true issue with parking isn’t available space but the fact that many people park their cars overnight.
There is currently no cost to park a vehicle overnight, but Hickman said the airport is exploring options for creating low-cost overnight parking.
“To help with our revenue, to get us to a more self-sustaining position, we’ve been talking about doing paid parking for overnight parking,” Hickman said. “We don’t have a number yet. We’re not trying to dissuade people from using the airport. (The cost) would be very minimal.
Alamosa County, Hickman said, recently entered into a contract with Municipal Services Bureau, a company that provides ways for municipalities to utilize credit card charges.
Hickman said they’re also exploring options to use smartphones by scanning a QR code and paying for parking.
A study will be conducted to assess more parking needs and issues before moving forward on cost and budgeting.
AAAB discusses Denver Air Connection costs, scheduling
Another item on the agenda Thursday was connecting Denver flights through Denver Air Connection at the airport.
Many in the meeting said that passengers have expressed frustration with the cost of Denver Air flights from Alamosa to Denver. Currently, it costs around $160 one-way.
Another concern is scheduling, mainly in winter.
Because the airport doesn’t have a hangar large enough to house the planes, Denver Air doesn’t house any of its planes overnight. This means that flights can’t be scheduled before 11 a.m.
“We have the space to build that kind of hangar,” Hickman said. “It’s just figuring out who is going to pay for it.”
When SkyWest operated at the airport, it did keep planes there overnight. However, it often caused delays as crews had to remove ice from the plane which can take several hours.
Runway to close for fire seal project
Hickman reminded members of the board that the runway will be closed for commercial airlines from Sept. 25 to Sept. 29 while the airport completes its runway fire seal project.
Enplanement numbers revealed for July and August
Hickman shared July and August’s commercial enplanement numbers at the Thursday meeting.
There were 915 enplanements in July and 813 in August, bringing the year-to-date total to 6,443.”
The airport’s goal is to reach 10,000 by year’s end.
“I think we’re still somewhat on track,” he said. “We have to average around 880 every month to get to 10,000. We might be close.”
FOB and Avionics numbers discussed
In July 222 flights were serviced by the FBO. Of those, 215 were general aviation (corporate, business, personal flights) and seven were airline.
In August, 253 flights were serviced, 217 general aviation and 36 airlines.
Year-to-date, 1,579 flights have been serviced by FBO.
Fuel cells are also up in July and August with 47 compared to last year’s total. That is an additional 56 revenue flights the airport has completed, which is 56 more than year — an increase of 15%.
The Alamosa Airport Advisory Board will meet again at 8:15 a.m. on Nov. 10.
Luke Lyons is the managing editor of the Valley Courier. He can be reached at [email protected]