Recently we discussed here, in this blog, the fact that President Trump views airports as part of an infrastructure issue to be addressed, hopefully, during his Presidency.
On February 28, 2017 during his speech to Congress he asked Congress to invest 1 Trillion dollars in what he described as an overall Transportation deficiency and “a bottom of the rung” internationally, airport system. It is his hope that “Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land,” He called for “a new program of national rebuilding.”
The question always becomes “How does this get paid for?” President Trump said he will be “asking the Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States—financed through both public and private capital—creating millions of new jobs.”
His new Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, has consistently said the government will be looking to different kinds of “public and private capital” as the funding mechanism and hopefully will find “innovative financing tools, such as public-private partnerships,” to finance US infrastructure projects.
The airports recently, as a group, actually met with President Trump in February. The Airports Council International-North America president and CEO Kevin Burke, participated in the White House meeting Trump held with him, US airline CEOs and airport directors, said airports “welcomed [Trump’s] continued commitment to improving airport infrastructure in his address before a joint session of Congress … We look forward to continuing our work with the Trump administration to address our significant airport infrastructure needs.”
So what if anything does this do for the Ogden Airport? The Ogden Airport, with the help of the Utah Legislature funding to the tune of $300,000, in 2015, did a Feasibility Study to determine the potential highest and best use of the airport. The results of that were that easily 25% of the outbound commercial air traffic from the Salt Lake City International Airport actually lived closer to the Ogden Airport. Could the Ogden Airport support some limited commercial air traffic? The answers from the study were Yes. Ogden proceeded to go out and query 80 businesses in the area to see if they thought they might use the Ogden Airport. The answer was Yes! The respondents to the Ogden study, with the businesses, was that they would 63% of the time be very likely to use the Ogden Airport. They also said that they would 28% of the time be somewhat likely to use the Ogden Airport for a total respondent rate of 91% of the business community likely to use the airport.
Ogden has a historical reference for community support of commercial air service. Allegiant Airlines has been in Ogden since September of 2012. From day one to the present the booking rate of passengers to use the Allegiant service has been over 90%.
The challenge now becomes to convince Allegiant to increase the number of destinations, they only go to Mesa, AX currently, and/or go to more destinations like they do with the Provo Airport or have Ogden find another commercial carrier interested in the Ogden story.
Stay tuned, maybe there is a blog story update on this for next month?