Doug Livergood, GM of Flower Aviation at Salina Regional Airport said today that although he believes that, due to its location in the virtual centre of the nation, Salina is a great location for landing and refuelling aircraft, but activity in general and business aviation is proving slow to recover from the recession.
Regrettably, Mr Livergood had to lay off a member of his team earlier this month, as business is so slow; he admits that he has ‘had guys falling asleep.’
Over the first six months of 2013, fuel sales are down by 30% for Flower Aviation, one of two fixed base operators at Salina Airport; the other, America Jet are down in the region of 37% for the same period.
The challenges facing the operators are put down to many factors, such as the loss of long-term clients who no longer own business jets, market competition from both national and international FBO’s, clients not ‘topping-up’ but only refuelling with essential fuel and, of course, the drop in the number of cross-country flights.
Tim Rogers, Airport Authority Executive Director commented, “The physical impact is significant for the airport authority and the FBOs, and merits attention that the airport authority board staff are giving it.”
In a bid to attract more visitors to the Airport, events are being scheduled, such as ‘Wings of Freedom’ which brought World War II aircraft, and Jaded Thunder; a military event that saw more than 500 visitors. Later this year, America Jet has arranged a fly-in of T33 American trainer jets – America Jet currently hold the contract for military fuelling.
“We want to maintain the effort to attract and schedule military aviation unit training, civilian aircraft associations, and atmospheric and climate research missions, which all provide fuel sales opportunities for the FBO’s,” said Mr Rogers.