The Ontario Municipal Airport needs a full-time airport manager and needs access to more equipment.
This was the request for consideration, from a subcommittee of the Ontario Airport Committee tasked with defining a clear vision for the Ontario Municipal Airport, presented during the Ontario City Council’s work session on Thursday.
“We want the airport to grow and develop,” said Dan Beaubien, secretary for the committee.
As part of its report, the subcommittee listed the airport’s target core values moving forward: self-sustaining, communication, accountability, community, assets and environment.
The most immediate need is a full-time airport manager, Beaubien said. Currently, the airport has a part-time manager.
“Without proper management, time requirements and grant writing, the airport will not be able to operate to our core values, nor will it be able to become self-sustaining,” according to a written report from the subcommittee to the city council.
In addition, more equipment allows more work to be done at the airport, especially during winter months when snowy conditions lead to an increased propensity for a closed airport.
“We’re not fully operational if we’re not open,” Beaubien said.
He said $10 million has already been invested into the airport, and that that investment is completely wasted when the airport isn’t even operational.
Tom Frazier, owner of fixed base operator Frazier Aviation at the Ontario Municipal Airport, said the airport is in line to have more traffic in the next few years what with Treasure Valley Community College on the cusp of getting a pilot program out at the airport.
Approximately 10 to 15 students are expected to begin a pilot program at the airport this fall, only further increasing demand out at the airport. In the next few years, it’s estimated 40 to 60 students with the pilot program will be signed up and out at the airport.
“We just don’t have the kind of facility to house all of that right now,” Frazier said.
However, Frazier went on to say that “It’s an economic opportunity that we haven’t had in a long time.”
Ontario Councilor Marty Justus requested from the subcommittee some sort of budgetary plan with what they have requested. With the city’s budgetary process beginning later this month, Ontario City Manager Adam Brown jumped in.
“This is good timing so that we can get this in before budget discussions,” he said.