- Associated Press - Monday, December 12, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A growth in passenger traffic is projected to drive a proposed $33.6 million operating budget for the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport/Adams Field in 2017.

The proposed budget assumes the number of passengers will increase 1 percent, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/2hfD4wT ) reported. Higher passenger volume tends to translate to increased revenue from parking, concessions and car rentals that would equate to about 51 percent of next year’s revenue.

Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission chairman Virgil Miller Jr. said he’s confident the projected 1 percent increase will happen due to an increase in airline service.

“To me, it’s just a reflection of the hard work the staff is doing,” Miller said. “We were able to secure Allegiant (Air) to come to the market. GLO (Airlines) is here now.”

The commission is set to look at the proposed budget for approval later in December. The budget for next year expects a rise of 2.6 percent from this year’s budget.

“This is about as thorough a budget presentation as anyone could ever ask for,” Miller said about a budget workshop held last week for commission members. “They went over it line by line. Staff was very thorough. They answered all out questions. They addressed our concerns.”

Credit rating service Moody’s Investment Services reported that U.S. airports in general have a positive outlook, with passenger boardings expected to increase 2.7 percent in 2017.

But small-hub airports such as Clinton National will “continue to lag behind in terms of emplanement growth” because they “are more likely to be served by the large legacy airlines through regional jets, which are likely to continue to be pressured by a pilot shortage,” Moody’s reported.

Clinton National’s passenger traffic increase comes after five years of flat rates.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com


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