Sunday, June 2, 2013

Boise Council to Vote on Aggressive Airline Incentive Program

Posted By on Sun, Jun 2, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Boise Airport Director Rebecca Hupp: All things being equal [airlines] are going to go to the place where they can get that extra incentive.
  • Laurie Pearman
  • Boise Airport Director Rebecca Hupp: "All things being equal [airlines] are going to go to the place where they can get that extra incentive."

Rebecca Hupp, director of the Boise Airport, has been talking about sweetening the pot for a while now in order to attract more commercial air service to the Treasure Valley. Now, she's prepared to ask the Boise City Council to clear her so-called "air service incentive program" ready for take-off.

"You have to kiss the airlines' Godfather ring," said Mike Boyd, president of Boyd Group International, an aviation consulting group. "If you show that respect for the airlines, it is more likely to work."

Boyd stood before Boise travel insiders in May 2012 at a first-of-its-kind Air Service Summit and encouraged them to incentivize air carriers.

And while no one is talking about kissing any rings, this Tuesday, June 4 the Boise City Council will be asked to approve a program "designed to encourage air carriers to add additional routes and increase capacity in the Boise market."

The plan, put together by Hupp, includes three components: a landing fee credit to encourage flights from Boise to new destinations, a marketing incentive for additional flights to new or existing destinations, and a public relations outreach campaign to promote new service.

The proposed landing fee credit would offer a substantial economic windfall to an airline willing to operate new service for at least one year. All in, the incentive could amount to 75 percent of landing fees. As an example, the proposal says as much as $99,000 out of $132,000 could be kicked back. Half of the $99,000 would be deferred to the next 12-month period.

In particular, the landing fee incentive program is targeting eight primary markets which currently do not connect with Boise, via a direct flight: Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago (Midway); Dallas; Detroit; New York City; San Diego; and Washington, D.C.

"All things being equal [airlines] are going to go to the place where they can get that extra incentive," Hupp told Boise Weekly in June, 2012. "We have to compete for air service as a community."

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