Sunday, August 18, 2013

City Wants To Boost Parking Fees At Boise Airport, Increase Annual Revenues by $210K

Posted By on Sun, Aug 18, 2013 at 10:11 AM

There was a good amount of media attention and discussion earlier this summer, when the city of Boise proposed bumping up its downtown parking meter rates, but there has been little attention paid to another proposed parking fee increase—this time at the Boise Airport.

The city's Department of Aviation is proposing to charge $1 per half hour to park at the airport, no matter what lot you're in: short term, long term, economy, garage or surface lots included. Airport officials say that while they have increased maximum rates on a number of occasions, it has been 10 years since the half-hour rate has been touched.

The impact to the city's coffers could be considerable: The proposal is expected to increase revenues by $210,000 per year.

Meanwhile, airport officials are looking for City Council approval for a new three-year contract to be granted to Utah-based ABM to manage the airport's parking system. The contract would include oversight of short- and long-term parking on surface lots and in the garage, in addition to employee parking and remote shuttle-lot parking.

The contract totals $169,909 over three years.

ABM. a Fortune 500 company previously known as Ampco Parking, currently manages parking systems at airports in San Francisco, New York and Denver.

ABM has been managing the Boise Airport parking systems to date, and the city's aviation department is expressing its interest in keeping ABM in place versus considering competitive bids from the Republic and Standard parking companies.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Report: Increased Misconduct Among TSA Workers

Posted By on Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 9:33 AM

A new government report confirms what many travelers already know: that a good many of those men and women in the neon blue shirts working for the Transportation Security Administration are bad at what they do.

The report from the Government Accountability Office found that incidents of misconduct increased 26 percent between 2010 and 2012, with 3,408 incidents including absenteeism, sleeping on the job, stealing and even leaving weird notes in travelers' luggage.

25 percent of the incidents were categorized as screening failures—including napping on the job—and 10 percent of incidents involved making inappropriate comments or behaving abusively. Some 56 employees were caught stealing.

TSA officials denied the agency was in disarray. They said they had the "highest ethical standards" and "zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace."

And a TSA union lawyer told Reuters that the report was "much ado about nothing." The agency has 56,000 employees, David Borer said. "With about 3,000 misconduct allegations a year, that's 600 that involve security or .01 percent involved in security incidents."

But in a Capitol Hill hearing on July 31, John Halinski, TSA’s deputy administrator, told members of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security that TSA would follow the GAO’s recommendations to improve their process of tracking and reviewing staff misconduct.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

GBAD Pledges $25K Toward Effort to Land Direct East Coast Air Service to Boise

Posted By on Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 1:18 PM

To give more thrust to an effort to connect Boise, via direct air service, to east coast destinations, the Greater Boise Auditorium District Thursday pledge $25,000—matching a similar amount from the City of Boise—to help secure a U.S. Department of Transportation matching grant of $700,000. GBAD's contribution on the same day that the grant application was due in USDOT's Washington, D.C. headquarters.

"In order to come or go from the east coast is an all-day trip," said Boise Centre Executive Director Pat Rice,director of marketing and sales Cliff Clinger adding that a direct flight between Boise and the east coast would expand Boise's business and tourism horizons.

The proposal—an addendum to Thursday's GBAD's agenda at the last minute—was brought by Boise Airport official Rebecca Hupp, who has raised approximately $75,000 from private parties and another $25,000 from the Boise City Council.

USDOT, according to Hupp, has a total of $11 million in funds that would go to small airports seeking to expand services to the east coast. Funds raised to match the DOT grant would be used only if the USDOT awards the grant to Boise, and if a commercial air carrier accepts the funds to offset startup costs of launching new service at the Boise Airport.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mountain Express: Sun Valley Trying To Land Federal Dollars For East Coast Connection

Posted By on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Officials in the Wood River Valley are pushing for a federal grant to link Sun Valley, via one-stop air service, to the East Coast.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports that the Fly Sun Valley Alliance is seeking something called a Small Community Air Service Development Grant. A similar grant, secured in 2002, was able to kick off nonstop service between Sun Valley and Los Angeles on Horizon Air. That service remains in operation at Hailey's Friedman Memorial Airport during the peak winter and summer months.

The Mountain Express reports that the federal grant program receives 300-400 applications annually but only dolls out 30-40 grants.

Meanwhile, the airport is also applying for a $2.2 million Airport Improvement Grant to help pay for major safety modifications to the facility. The three-year project, with a price tag of $25- to $35 million, will include hangar relocation, construction of additional taxiways and expansion of the terminal.

Ironically, the news comes on the busiest week of the year for the airport. Friedman Memorial's hangars and runways have been filed with private jets this week, all accommodating the luminaries attending this week's Allen and Co. shindig at the Sun Valley Resort.

Among the attendees: New Jersey Gov. Chris Chrisie, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO larry Page, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger, Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch, and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Boise Airport Announces New Service to San Diego

Posted By on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 9:43 AM

Officials at the Boise Airport were pretty excited this morning to announce a new daily service linking Boise and San Diego would begin Friday, Nov. 1.

"It opens up wonderful new possibilities for economic development," said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter.

Alaska Airlines will offer daily service departing at 10:20 a.m. with a return flight from San Diego arriving daily at the Boise Airport at 8:30 p.m.

To kick off the service, Alaska is offering introductory fares, starting from $99 each way. Tickets must be purchased by Thursday, July 4, and can be used for travel through Jan. 31, 2014.

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Southwest Back in the Air After Friday Glitch Grounds 250 Flights

Posted By on Sat, Jun 22, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Southwest Airlines was limping back into service Saturday morning following a Friday night system-wide computer failure that grounded its entire fleet of airplanes, canceling 57 flights. Southwest flights at the Boise Airport were all on time Saturday, but the Associated Press reports that 43 of Friday night's cancellations were departures in the western half of the country. And estimated 250 flights—most of them on the West Coast—were grounded at least temporarily Friday night.

Shortly after midnight, Southwest posted on its Twitter page that "systems are operating and we will begin work on getting customers where they need to be. Thanks for your patience tonight."

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

UPDATE: Charges Dismissed Against Meridian Woman Following Attempt to Bring Weapon Aboard Plane at Boise Airport

Posted By on Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Officers with the Transportation Security Administration at the Boise Airport announced today that they recently discovered a loaded firearm at the security checkpoint—the fourth firearm TSA agents have discovered this year in a carry-on bag at the airport.

The incident occurred June 14, when TSA agents said they discovered a .380 caliber Ruger, loaded with six rounds. The owner, 31-year-old Mia Gussie of Meridian, was ticketed for travel to San Francisco. She held a valid concealed weapons permit, but she was cited for attempting to bring a weapon aboard an aircraft. The weapon was taken into police custody.

UPDATE: In July 2013, prosecutors agreed to reduce the charge to Disturbing the Peace. Gussie pleaded guilty to the lesser charge, and was ordered to pay a fine of $452.50 and was additionally ordered to one year of probation.

In April, 2017, the court agreed to dismiss the charges.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Boise Council to Vote on Aggressive Airline Incentive Program

Posted By on Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Boise Airport Director Rebecca Hupp: All things being equal [airlines] are going to go to the place where they can get that extra incentive.
  • Laurie Pearman
  • Boise Airport Director Rebecca Hupp: "All things being equal [airlines] are going to go to the place where they can get that extra incentive."

Rebecca Hupp, director of the Boise Airport, has been talking about sweetening the pot for a while now in order to attract more commercial air service to the Treasure Valley. Now, she's prepared to ask the Boise City Council to clear her so-called "air service incentive program" ready for take-off.

"You have to kiss the airlines' Godfather ring," said Mike Boyd, president of Boyd Group International, an aviation consulting group. "If you show that respect for the airlines, it is more likely to work."

Boyd stood before Boise travel insiders in May 2012 at a first-of-its-kind Air Service Summit and encouraged them to incentivize air carriers.

And while no one is talking about kissing any rings, this Tuesday, June 4 the Boise City Council will be asked to approve a program "designed to encourage air carriers to add additional routes and increase capacity in the Boise market."

The plan, put together by Hupp, includes three components: a landing fee credit to encourage flights from Boise to new destinations, a marketing incentive for additional flights to new or existing destinations, and a public relations outreach campaign to promote new service.

The proposed landing fee credit would offer a substantial economic windfall to an airline willing to operate new service for at least one year. All in, the incentive could amount to 75 percent of landing fees. As an example, the proposal says as much as $99,000 out of $132,000 could be kicked back. Half of the $99,000 would be deferred to the next 12-month period.

In particular, the landing fee incentive program is targeting eight primary markets which currently do not connect with Boise, via a direct flight: Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago (Midway); Dallas; Detroit; New York City; San Diego; and Washington, D.C.

"All things being equal [airlines] are going to go to the place where they can get that extra incentive," Hupp told Boise Weekly in June, 2012. "We have to compete for air service as a community."

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Safe Landing: FAA Shifts Funds To Keep Airport Control Towers Open

Posted By on Sat, May 11, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Control towers at Idaho's medium-sized airports—along with other facilities across the nation—won a reprieve Friday when the Federal Aviation Administration decided not to follow through with its threat to shut down operations in the shadow of the U.S. government's sequestration cuts.
Four airports—in Hailey, Idaho Falls, Lewiston and Pocatello—have control towers operated by contractors for the FAA and had been scheduled to close June 15. But the Associated Press reports that the towers will remain open at least through September 30, which is the end of the current federal budget year. The FAA was granted authority to shift more than $250 million from accounts with unspent funds to keep the air traffic controllers on the job.

But some cuts are looming: the FAA promised to spend $10 million to invest in more satellite navigation which would shift air traffic control away from local radar-based navigation to greater control at the regional level.

Of the nation's 5,000 public airports, only about 10 percent have regularly manned control towers. And 200 of the small- to medium-sized airports have towers operated by private contractors at an annual cost of more than $500,000 each.

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Boise Airport Spending More on 'Strategic Planning' In Effort To Attract More Flights

Posted By on Sun, May 5, 2013 at 3:00 PM

This coming Tuesday, May 7, the Boise City Council will be briefed on commercial air service by Boise Airport Director Rebecca Hupp. She's expected to tell policy makers that a Boise Airport Business Advisory Group is in the works through which community stakeholders would help promote existing routes and advocate for greater service to points east and south.

In particular, the Boise Airport has identified what it calls an "Air Service Deficiency Area." Simply put, direct flights from Boise don't exist any further east than Chicago or any further south than Phoenix. And most of the nation's airport hubs—including New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, San Diego, Charlotte and Washington, D.C.—don't connect directly with Boise.


But a number of the airlines which served passengers in and out of the Boise Airport in 2000 either don't exist anymore or have merged with other airlines, leaving Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, United and U.S. Airways.

Among the action items for the airport's Air Service Development Plan is identifying potential new target markets.

"As far as destinations, we know that there's strong demand for service to Dallas and/or Houston. And they're hub destinations," Hupp told Boise Weekly in May 2012. "Of course, we'd love to improve eastbound destinations, like Philadelphia or Atlanta."

The Boise Airport's operating expenses for Fiscal Year 2013 top $8.5 million, $332,632 higher than Fiscal Year 2012 with the lion's share of the increased expenses—$217,727—going toward "management and strategic planning."

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