Study looks at state's struggling airports - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Study looks at state's struggling airports

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A new state-sponsored study examines Kentucky could give the struggling facilities an economic boost. The study by the state Cabinet for Economic Development suggests ways to boost the three airports in northern Kentucky, Louisville and Lexington.

All three have lost passengers over the past several years, and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport has lost more than two-thirds of its flights due to downsizing by Delta Airlines, The Kentucky The study outlines the economic development incentives the state currently offers, examines incentives in other states, and analyzes three new incentives proposed by the three airports.

It found that in 2004, the northern Kentucky airport had a $217 million economic impact across Kentucky, excluding Boone County. In 2009, its economic impact was $139 million.

"It's important to note that both the legislature and the Cabinet recognize the importance of airports and their economic benefit to the state," said Matt Davis, vice president of business and community advocacy at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. "They've identified how important airports are and that helping them would be beneficial to our economy, and we hope legislators recognize that," Davis said.

Staff economists found that in 2004, the airport in northern Kentucky excluding Boone County. In 2009, that shrunk to $139 million.

"It's important to note that both the legislature and the Cabinet recognize the importance of airports and their economic benefit to the state," said Matt Davis, vice president of business and community advocacy at the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

The state already offers incentive programs, but "the airline incentive environment has changed because of the airline industry's financial condition and because of generous offerings from competitor states," the study says.

Northern Kentucky, Lexington and Louisville have asked officials to approve new types of economic development incentives to help them attract airlines.

They seek an expansion of the state's tax-increment financing, or TIF, program; creation of a revolving loan fund for airlines and permission to establish special commercial operating units to outsource services like ticketing and baggage handling.

The study does not draw any final conclusions, nor does it give any recommendations for possible action. Lawmakers commissioned the study in the state budget at the request of Senate President Pro Tem Katie Stine.

 

 

 

 

 

The legislative Program Review & Investigations Committee, which is chaired by Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, is also

studying the airports' problems and what, if anything, the state can do to help.

 

 

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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