Mar 4, 2015 1:10 AM by Jason Atcho
The Chico City Council and the Airport Commission held a joint meeting Tuesday night to discuss the future of the airport and the possible plan to sign a new contract with AvPORTS, a company that will assess the current situation. "Phase one will allow them to determine what type of airport manager on site that they'll have to find in order to accommodate Chico Municipal Airport's needs," said Mark Orme, Chico City Manager.
The agreement, which will last through the end of the year and cost $190,000, will look into every detail of the city and the airport's needs. "To the degree of facilities maintenance. To the degree of the current tenants and what we have out there. There's going to be a lot of leg work that needs to be conducted for them to get a good grasp of what our airport entails," said Orme.
The Chico Chamber of Commerce solicited responses from the community to see what their needs are for air travel. They were overwhelmed with 2,200 responses. "What we were hoping to do with that survey is organize and analyze the travel areas and preferences of residents, visitors, business owners. Those sorts of things," explained Katie Simmons, President and CEO of Chico Chamber of Commerce.
One thing they agree on is the absolute need for one person being in charge of the airport. "Without an airport manager, commercial airport service would be that much more challenging if not probably impossible," said Simmons.
In the meantime, they're hoping to find other alternatives for people who want to travel to and from Chico.
"In the space during which we may not have commercial air service, we have access to other airports and we remain connected," said Simmons.
Overall, the city knows that the airport is not getting the attention it needs and isn't being utilized to its full potential. They hope this step forward will change that. "The airport is certainly a viable asset, and so investing in it now to see what we can do with it into the future of the airport is important," said Orme.
Other cities that have successfully re-attracted commercial airline service have taken years and millions of dollars, so this is something that isn't going to happen overnight.