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Updates on Airport Projects

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On December 3, 2019,  Airport Manager Kevin Daugherty updated the Airport Advisory Committee on the major capital improvement projects that have begun at the Brooksville Tampa Regional Airport (BKV).

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Current Projects Updates

Daugherty reported that the repair of 1000 feet of depressed pavement on Sgt. Lea Mills Blvd. is to begin next week and should be completed in 60 days.

The planning phase of the extensions of Telecom and Technology Drives is being finalized, and wildlife studies are to be completed before the construction can be started.  The project is to go out for bid in Spring of 2020, and construction to begin in the following summer months.

The bid opening for the Helicopter Drive extension commenced on November 20, 2019, and Pianta reported 5 bids, well under previous estimates.   The scope of the project is to extend Helicopter Drive along with utilities 600 feet to the east which will allow for hangar development to occur along Taxiway A.  The apparent low bidder was Goodwin Brothers Construction at $237,554. After approval by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) in January, construction is expected to begin in the Spring as well.  

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Rehabilitation of Taxiway A has begun and is expected to have asphalt and markings in place by Christmas 2019.   Pianta cautioned that, historically setbacks have been encountered with respect to electrical work, but that portion of the project is on track so far.

30% of the T-Hangar design has been submitted for review so far.

Self Fueling construction is complete.  According to reports, the county Purchasing Department issued the RFP (request for proposals) for Management Services on August 28, 2019,  and held the bid opening on October 3, 2019 and no respondents bid on the project.  Alternatives will be presented / discussed with the Airport Advisory Committee.  Recommendations will be provided to the Board of County Commissioners.    

The Runway 27 extension has received its $1-million grant from the Department of Transportation (DOT).   The grant comes with a $250,000 match from the county, which will present for approval in a January meeting.

Pre-application process for Runway 9-27 rehabilitation design, and the decoupling of runways A and D.

The State of the Airport

Dr. David Byers of Quadrex Aviation, presented an update on BKV’s business plan, rates and charges, and reported that between 2015-2019, BKV has seen a 50% increase in revenue. Byers remarked, “That’s hard to do … aviation, general aviation is a very hard market because of all the competition you have with all the other airports, and you can’t just charge what the market will bear … because you’ll either drive people out of the market or other people are going to steal your market.  That is huge.”  

Byers has been involved with the airport since the planning of the control tower, performing much of the feasibility analysis to justify its construction.  

Being a part of the history of BKV, Byers has insight into the original business plan, showing the airport “operating in the red” between 2013 – 2014.

Non-aviation saw a revenue increase of more than 15%.  Non-aviation includes facilities such as warehouses and buildings occupying land offered by the airport.  Byers explained that the advantage to leasing land is advantageous in that it would cost less initially than purchasing commercial property, ultimately resulting in greater cash flow for the business.

BKV saw another 24% increase in revenues in miscellaneous items over the past 5 years.

As far as expenses go, the airport saw a 14% increase in cost of personnel over the past 5 years, a low figure which Byers also considered “Remarkable.”  He reported other operating expenses as having decreased by 5%.

Overall, revenues have been exceeding expenses for the past five years, and BKV is now back “in the black.”

Byers cautioned that depreciation of applicable items were not taken into account during this analysis, and that funding of the accounts designated for repair or replacement should be maintained.

With regard to BKV’s leases, Byers stated that this airport has been used as an example in his consultations with other airports, stating “Because (BKV) has thought of everything.”

Byers advised,  “Just keep doing what you’re doing.  You’re the big airport in this region.  (General aviation pilots) are not going to go down to Tampa or St. Petersburg … or any of those other places as opposed to being comfortable here.”

The board discussed the possibility of raising fuel prices in the future, but no decisions were made during this meeting.

Marketing is the immediate future focus for BKV, helping new business and aviators get acquainted with the airport’s offerings.  Economic Development Director Valerie Pianta stressed balancing the non-aeronautical with the aeronautical to keep the airport profitable and successful.
An updated business plan draft by Quadrex is expected by the next meeting.

Self Fueling

Byers stated that a feasibility study will need to be conducted for the self-fueling facility.  BKV has already received a healthy grant by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), however, Byers questions what kind of revenue can be expected from his inception.  “From day one, it was going to be a marginal enterprise,” Byers said, explaining that small-end aviation does not purchase a lot of fuel.  

Byers estimates that BKV would need to recover $140,000 – 150,000 from sales in order to recoup the expenses to build the facility.

Byers went on to say that it would be more lucrative to have a self-fueling facility run by an outside entity, however, request for proposals (RFPs) were opened, and none were submitted.  “I suspect it’s because the volume just isn’t there.”

According to Airport Manager Kevin Daugherty, two options exist. The first is to have the airport run the self-fueling facility, adding the cost of a single part-time person for management of the equipment, plus insurance.  The other option is to have American Aviation start the facility with a 12 month contract to get the facility running, and also collect data to provide to potential responders in a future RFP.

More discussion is expected at the next meeting on February 18, 2020.

 

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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