Friday, August 29, 2014

Air board approves nearly $2M budget

Schedule changed on Denver, San Francisco flights for fall

Express Staff Writer

     A nearly $2 million fiscal 2015 budget approved by the Sun Valley Air Service Board on Wednesday will be allocated about equally between airline revenue guarantees and marketing.

     Created through a joint powers agreement with Blaine County, the board represents the cities of Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley and oversees a budget with the money generated by a 1 percent tax collected since Jan. 1 to promote commercial air service to Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey. The board includes the mayors of the three cities and a non-voting county commissioner.

     The $1.96 million budget is expected to be funded through $1.52 million from Ketchum tax receipts, $320,000 from Sun Valley and $60,000 from Hailey. An additional $54,000 is applied from a remaining fund balance.

     About 55 percent of expenses is allotted toward air service contracts with United and Alaska Air. Sun Valley Resort will match the amount 50-50, the budget indicates. That 55 percent—$1.1 million dollars – is the maximum financial liability and is contingent upon enplanements and revenues.

     The budget includes $1 million for air service marketing, split 60 percent for winter and 40 percent for summer, as recommended by the Sun Valley Marketing Alliance.

     Friedman has three airline providers: Alaska, Delta and United. Some summer flight schedules changed as of Aug. 26 to reflect the beginning of the slack season. Until Sept. 23, United Airlines flights from Denver and San Francisco will occur five times a week, dropping from daily flights in the summer.

     Alaska Airlines daily round-trip flights from Los Angeles and Seattle will remain unchanged until Sept. 22, when the Los Angeles flight will end. Seattle flights will drop from daily to three times weekly starting Oct. 2. Delta Airlines has a Salt Lake City flight twice daily on a year-round basis with an additional evening flight six times a week until Sept. 30.

     In its budget decisions, the board rejected terrorism coverage with the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program, a member-owned insurance program for Idaho governments, but renewed its ICRMP contract for the upcoming year.

     The next board meeting will be in Ketchum on Sept. 25 at 2 p.m.

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