QUEENSBURY How about Lake George Regional Airport, or Southern Adirondack Regional Airport?
Those were a couple of the names proposed for Floyd Bennett-Warren County Airport by a volunteer advisory committee tasked with finding ways to increase usage and revenue at the airport.
Queensbury resident William Mason, a former county supervisor who led the advisory committee, said a renaming and “rebranding” of the airport could increase its visibility and bring in more revenue.
“It would be better to have more of a regional name,” he said.
The advisory committee made a number of suggestions to help improve the bottom line at the airfield, where some supervisors have been calling for budget cuts because it annually has a shortfall of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In addition to a name change, among the ideas floated were:
- Bring in a pilot “fly-in” event to raise the airport’s visibility with pilots.
- Dedicate funding to market the airport. No money is currently set aside to market it.
- Improve the airport’s website and social media presence.
- Investigate using some of the county-owned land around the airport for solar panel farms, or extend a natural gas line into the airport to lower utility costs.
- Modify hours, and potentially usage rules, to make the facility more friendly to pilots.
- Start an electronic newsletter to keep interested parties up-to-date on goings-on at the airport.
Harrison Freer, a pilot who is on the advisory committee, said most airports are municipally owned, and busier ones typically don’t lose money.
Ed Bartholomew, president of EDC Warren County, said some of the proposals are “short-term changes that can be implemented rapidly,” such as website improvements that have already begun. Steve Abbott, general manager for the airport’s fixed-base operator, Rich Air, said its online presence is being improved with social media links.
Bartholomew said his agency will also help with the marketing effort.
“EDC is prepared to assist the county in those areas, particularly the marketing area,” he said.
The county Board of Supervisors Facilities Committee accepted the report but has not committed to implementing any of the recommendations.
One of the supervisors who has questioned spending at the airport, Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Doug Beaty, said during the meeting that he is concerned about a trend of declining fuel sales at the airport, with sales down nearly 25 percent since 2010. The county gets a percentage of the fuel sales revenue.