Toledo Airports Private Management
For the past seven or so months, a group of investors from a local family – the Treeces – have been vying to take over management of Toledo Express Airport and Toledo Executive Airport. They have faced very tough criticism mainly from the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and most of all The Blade. We at FlyTOL have taken a mostly hands off stance on the issue as we have wanted to see what substance the Treeces were offering before making an opinion or putting our ideas out there. The plan can be found here: http://toledoairports.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/BusinessPlan.pdf
The stance the Blade has taken has been detrimental to the area as they have taken on yet another vendetta as they would be losing control. This is bad for business and puts yet another black eye on the area. Who would want to do business here if they always have the Blade constantly keeping tabs on them? Not many…especially if you get on the Blade’s bad side. Not to mention, all the Blade does is criticize and harp on the bad things.
Here at FlyTOL, we have read the business plan and have come to the conclusion the business plan is fairly vague and comes up short of our expectations. Rather than criticize the plan, we are going offer up our ideas to institute change at Toledo’s area airports. The Treeces have taken the step for change and brought many issues into the forefront with how the Port Authority has been running the airports. So we feel our ideas should be thrown out also.
With the major investors being the Treeces, we would suggest setting up a Board of Directors to oversee the operations. This BOD could include one of the Treeces and four others to be businessmen/business women in and out of the aviation industry. Meet monthly and pay them for their time say $100-$200 per month. Then, have the BOD hire an actual management team for the airports and pay them enough to want to stay and institute change. The first would be to hire an Airports Director/Manager. This person would be responsible for all operations on the airports on a day to day basis. We would also suggest hiring a market/promotions manager to promote and sell the airports – or even a salesperson. This person would be responsible for going to industry conferences, businesses locally and internationally, and to work with the Air National Guard. We would also suggest hiring four or so unpaid interns from UT or BGSU to be the day to day promotions at the airport – social media, contests, etc. A couple of assistants would be required also.
Investment in the Facility
The terminal is not the only thing that needs sprucing up at the airports. Investment will be needed for the entire place. Roads could use to be repaved, buildings repainted, and signs chanaged. The terminal needs to be made to look like one, not several different parts put together like different colored legos. The east wing that was built back in 2000 could be made into an International terminal to house FIS facilities. This could be used for general aviation also. The airport needs new jetways as they are aging badly and constantly breaking down costing a lot of money in maintenance. We would like to see an updated bar/restaurant situation – offering up appetizers that are usually found at bars. Also, this bar should contain sports stations and updated TVs. Possibly build a new hangar or two to market to specific companies now there is no open hangars at TOL.
We at FlyTOL feel that the revenues need to be derived from the users. At the terminal, this means the passengers. We feel getting ways for the passengers to pay more in fees, revenues will increase. One example would be to change the parking rate structure. Instead of just a blanket $8 per day, increase it to $9 per day with a maximum of $50 per week. This will give the week long vacationer a little bit of a bonus while increasing revenues from the business traveler. Could even approach Allegiant to pay for parking ahead of time while booking their flights…Other ideas could include an extra dollar or two tacked on to rental cars and concessions. For the general aviation side, we don’t have quite a good grasp of what he revenues and expenses are but we would like to see a small monthly fee paid for by owners of aircraft there and a small landing fee for transient aircraft. For example, could say a piston aircraft is $20 per month and a turbo jet aircraft costs $50 per month for resident aircraft and for transient aircraft, $10 per day and turbo jet aircraft $100 per day. Again, these are just examples and simple figures. Also, advertising in the airport, not just for local companies, but for companies and attractions at destinations flown to from TOL.
Maintenance and Upkeep
We feel the maintenance and upkeep at the airport should be a hybrid for hired and contracted work. For airfield maintenance, these should be full time employees at the airport. However, outside of the fence, we feel this should be contracted out.
We at FlyTOL feel safety is priority number one. We would suggest restoring the necessary safety personnel. Currently, there are concerns from some that there is not enough coverage should an issue arise.
Finally, to wrap things up, maybe a new identity is what is needed for the airport. We still suggest a name change to the airport with a full on marketing campaign community and worldwide to reinvigorate aviation in Northwest Ohio. Something to the tune of Glass City International or Northwest Ohio International or whatever.
As you can see, we have made suggestions based on where we can see improvements in the airports over the years. Above all, we want to see the airport and community thrive and have a forward thinking and evolving manager of the airports and not accept failure. -Ryan