A major shake-up has seen Tulsa International become independent from the City of Tulsa in a move, initially approved by Mayor Dewey Bartlett, that has now been officially agreed by Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust (TAIT).
The agreement will now give the airport more freedom for airport operations management, although, the city of Tulsa will retain control of the airport through TAIT board members appointed by the Tulsa City Council, Tulsa Airport Authority will now lease the airport from the city on a 25-year term. This will allow it to contract out or hire in for services such as legal, IT and human resources support which were previously provided by Tulsa City which was then reimbursed by the airport. However, some services will continue to be provided by the city and Tulsa International’s 150 employees will remain on their current pension plan.
Passenger numbers at Tulsa International declined 0.3% to 1.316 million in 2013, with an overall decline of 18.5% since 2007. This decline is set against an overall operating budget of $58.5 million in 2013, though airport officials believe the leasing arrangement will enable them to make savings of $500,000.