Fort Wayne Airport Considers Fee Increase to Cover Snow-Removal Equipment

Fort Wayne International Airport travelers might be forced to fork up extra money for snow-removal equipment.

Passengers will pay an additional $1.50 per flight beginning January 2006 if the Federal Aviation Administration approves the Airport Authoritys application to increase the passenger facility charge. The charge is currently $3 per flight.

The proposed charge would expire in 2018 and would pay for more than $2 million worth of firefighting and snow-removal equipment. The authority intends to buy a 3,000-gallon firetruck for an estimated $900,000 to replace the airports two 1970s model trucks. The authority would buy a snow blower, two snowplows and a machine to collect de-icing chemical residue for about $1.2 million total. The airports current snow-removal equipment was purchased in the late 1980s.

Passengers flying from the Indianapolis International Airport are charged a $4.50 fee, said Dennis Rosebrough, public affairs director.

The Fort Wayne authority will forward comments to the FAA through July, and the airports five carriers will submit opinions on the fee increase. The FAA sets the maximum possible passenger fee airports can charge, which until about two years ago was $3. Airport Director Tory Richardson said until now FWA had no reason to increase the fee.

The passenger charge is also paying off a $19 million terminal renovation completed in 1996 and a $9 million roadway-parking lot upgrade completed in 1994.

Including the money already collected through the $3 fee, the Authority expects to collect about $28.6 million total if the increase is approved.

What: The Fort Wayne Airport Authority is proposing a $1.50 fee increase to each ticket purchased. The current fee is $3.

Why: The money will help replace outdated snow-removal equipment and firetrucks.

What equipment: Firetruck $900,000; snow blower $400,000; two snowplows $620,000; de-icer collector $125,000

Who makes the decision: The Federal Aviation Administration will make the final decision on whether to accept the fee increase.

What you can do: Send comments postmarked by Aug. 4 to: Torrance A. Richardson, Executive Director of Airports, or Ronnie C. Portis, Controller, Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority, Lt. Paul Baer Terminal, Suite 209, Fort Wayne, IN 46809