The Barkley Regional Airport Authority board took several steps Monday, including increasing its line of credit, as it navigates its way through the negative impact the COVID-19 outbreak is having on its industry.
Meeting via videoconference, the board approved a resolution to increase its line of credit with Community Financial Services Bank from $100,000 to $300,000, approved a request for rent relief from Midwest Aviation, and learned that SkyWest Airlines is seeking to reduce its round-trip service from Barkley to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport from two flights to one.
The airport operates at a deficit of approximately $350,000 annually, with the city of Paducah and McCracken County (which jointly owns the airport) making up that deficit.
Because of the downturn in the number of passengers due to COVID-19 and drops in related revenue from things such as car rental fees, that deficit is projected to significantly increase.
According to George Bray, board chairman, conversations with the city and county indicated neither would be in a position to significantly increase the amount they subsidize the airport to make up the projected increase in the deficit.
“The bottom line is we’re going to have to increase our line of credit for this next quarter (ending June 30, 2020) and have to ask the city and county for more money in the next fiscal year,” Bray said.
“Not only to fund the next fiscal year but to pay back the line of credit that we’re borrowing for this quarter.”
The board also agreed to provide Midwest Aviation a rebate of $3,975 a month in April, May and June of this fiscal year, provided it pays its regular rent amount during that time.
SkyWest Airlines is proposing to reduce its service to one round-trip flight to and from Chicago, with the departure at 6:30 a.m. and return flight landing in Paducah at 8 p.m. each day.
“Obviously, the current state of affairs give us all cause for concern in trying to understand the financial viability, the financial picture of the airport until we have an economic recovery,” Bray said.
Dennis Rouleau, airport executive director, told the board every effort is being made to cut expenses, including not immediately filling open positions, cutting overtime, keeping lights off inside the terminal to save electricity, and using runway lights only when necessary to land planes.