For the second consecutive year, the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena
Airport Authority has dipped into its savings account to cover the
price of security changes and lost income as a result of the Sept. 11
Last week, the airport released a preliminary budget that shows it
plans to spend $4.5 million from reserve funds during the 2003-04
fiscal year. So far this year, the airport has spent $29 million from
reserves to cover costs that include a $34-million security project.
The reserve fund, which was at $71 million at the end of fiscal
year 2001-02, will be at $38 million in 2003-04, Airport Authority
spokesman Victor Gill said.
“The public probably wont see a difference [to services] right
away,” Gill said. “But unless the pattern of deficit spending can be
ended, sooner or later the operation of the airport could not take
place at an optimal level.”
Changes could include reducing the home-insulation program, which
buffers airport noise, postponing maintenance projects, and not
hiring additional staff, said Gill, who added there is not a risk of
the facility closing.
Despite the reduction in reserves, Burbank’s airport is better off
financially than some airports nationwide, Airport Authority Vice
President Charlie Lombardo said.
“There are some airports that have no idea how they will pay for
the [security] projects they have,” Lombardo said.
Along with the price of added security, the facility’s decreased
savings account means it will earn less interest. Coupled with lower
interest rates, the airport’s portfolio will bring in about $2
million in the coming year, down $1 million from the present fiscal
year, Gill said.
The facility also expects to lose $1 million in parking income --
from $11 million to $10 million -- because of competition from other
lots, including the new Star Park, Gill said. Annual parking income
prior to September 2001 was nearly $17 million.
On the plus side, passenger- facility fees are expected to
increase from $7.5 million to $10 million in the coming year because
the rate was increased from $3 to $4.50 per flight on April 1. The
fee helps pay for such projects as the noise- insulation program, and
also helps cover additional anticipated security needs, Gill said.
A final budget is expected to be released in May. Glendale Airport
Authority Commissioner Gerald Briggs stressed that the figures under
review are likely to be revised.