Shreveport airport faces budget woes

By Nick Guillory - email | bio | Twitter

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Fewer travelers means fewer dollars for Shreveport regional airport.

We're talking 2 million dollars. Explains what the cash strapped Ark-La-Tex airport plans to do to get itself out of the red.

"Oh yea! 1500 dollars roundtrip from Atlanta to here that's a lot of money," Del Wheeler said.

Del Wheeler said its 1500 dollars too much. He's not alone travel is down at Shreveport Regional to a 35 year low.

This is causing airport officials to look at cost-cutting measures.

"The airport authority board will consider possible layoff of up to 13 of our staff members," Bill Cooksey said.

Those layoffs will help generate 600-thousand dollars.

The Board of Directors will meet next Thursday with the city council to determine what other efforts the airport can do to lower its debt.

Another way the airport plans to combat the 2-million dollar budget shortfall and it has plans to sell a 50 acre lot to developers in hopes to make way for a nursing home.

"We have worked very heavily for the last two years on some economic development projects to lease large sections of property-unfortunately the national recession has hurt," Cooksey said.

The airport also took a hit after DHL and USPS pulled out of the airport's new distribution center.

"The loss of that aircraft, significantly impacts airport revenue when you base some of your revenue on landing fees, weight of aircraft as well as fuel size," Cooksey said.

Cooksey said the hope is that when UPS comes to the airport it offsets some of the current losses.

He said the airport's budget woes won't be fast to fix and could lead to a bumpier ride come next year with the possibility of more cuts.

Airport officials tell KSLA News 12 that the problem is so bad, that the airport didn't even see this kind of decrease in airport traffic after 9/11.

They're hopeful to come out of the financial shortfall after 2012.

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