Dayton Fights to Compete

May 9, 2007
Dayton International looks to cut costs to keep passengers flying locally

DAYTON, Ohio - On the job six months, the city's director of aviation is reducing Dayton International Airport's work force and hopes to sharply cut operating costs for airlines which do business there.

Iftikhar Ahmad says those things - and more - must happen if Dayton is to compete with the surrounding airports, retain the flight service it has and try to attract new service.

Ahmad's top priorities include reducing the operating costs for Dayton's airlines, to match lower costs at the Indianapolis, Columbus and Cincinnati airports, and cutting the airport's own operating costs. The closeness of those airports makes it easy for the region's residents to choose to fly from there if fares are more affordable, Ahmad said.

His goals include reducing the Dayton airport's $35 million budget by at least $7 million this year- to offset revenues lost when United Parcel Service closed its freight hub - and increasing revenues from nonairline sources including concessions and parking.

Ahmad said he has reduced the airport's work force from 201 employees last year to 174 at present, with a target of 155 by year's end. The airport increased parking rates in March, more than doubling the short-term rates.

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