Airport budget squeaks ahead

Despite a precipitous drop in parking revenues and the loss of American Airlines, Bob Hope Airport managed to squeak ahead of budget projections for fiscal year 2012, according to a report released this week.

According to the year-end fiscal numbers released to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday, Bob Hope Airport took in $4,677 more than what was anticipated, and was hampered mostly by a major drop in parking revenues, officials reported.

Parking revenues, which traditionally made up about 40% of the airport's total operating revenues, came in $732,196 under budget — a 3.8% decrease from what was projected.

Dan Feger, the airport's executive director, said the tightness of the operating results for last fiscal year, which ended June 30, was unexpected.

“Historically, our performance was that we had more operating revenue than we had anticipated. We would always try and be very conservative about forecasting revenue stream,” he told authority members. “But this year, it didn't happen. You can see that the parking really hurt us.”

However, other areas, such as income from concessions and rentals, came in higher than expected — $363,553 and $262,592, respectively — compensating for the decline in fees from parking, said Kathy David, deputy executive director of finance and administration at the airport.

Food and beverage concessions reported a surprising revenue boost even though American Airlines pulled out in February, and in spite of the steady drop in passengers using the airfield, David added.

Other sources, including taxi and shuttle services, brought in $122,663, helping to nudge total operating revenues slightly above what was projected.

Also, landing fees held their own, coming in only $4,676, or 0.2%, under budget — a somewhat remarkable feat considering American handled about 7.5% of the airport's passengers before it departed.

The airport's current fiscal budget, which took effect July 1, included a 21% hike in landing fees — the first increase in almost 10 years.

On the operations and maintenance side of the review, results were positive primarily because of favorable rates for workers' compensation insurance, open positions and more efficient electrical usage, officials reported.

“If we can put a meter on something a tenant is in, we'll meter it and bill them back for it,” David said.

Capital improvement expenditures, meanwhile, were drastically under budget. More than $84 million had been allotted for projects, but only about $26 million was spent.

The difference is primarily because of delays in construction of a transportation center and installation of a system with which any airline can use any boarding station in the airport to process passengers.

For example, there was $52.4 million budgeted for the new transportation center. However, the bond financing did not close until this past May.

“So we really did not officially commence the major part of construction until [this past July],” David said, which is actually the beginning of the current fiscal year.

Airport officials expect the current fiscal year to also be challenging, she added.

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