Federal cuts don't reach Victoria airport

Brian Cuaron

Aug. 8, 2011 at 3:08 a.m.

The Victoria Regional Airport won't be affected by the recently enacted subsidy cuts to rural airports.

In a Federal Aviation Administration bill, the U.S. Congress agreed to cut $16.5 million in subsidies to 13 rural airports. The Victoria airport wasn't among them.

The cuts targeted airports that received subsidies of about $1,000 per passenger under the Essential Air Service Program.

The Victoria airport, with a passenger rate of about 5,500 per year, receives a subsidy of about $337 per passenger, said Jason Milewski, the airport's manager.

That doesn't mean the Victoria County airport is out of danger. Milewski said the subsidy program would continue to be heavily scrutinized.

Republicans had insisted on the subsidy cuts as their price for restoring the FAA to full operation.

However, the bill also includes language that gives Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood the authority to continue subsidized service to the 13 communities if he decides it's necessary, according to the Associated Press.

Congress has regularly put more restrictions onto the subsidy program, Milewski said. The Victoria airport should work to not rely on the subsidies, he said.

The Victoria Regional Airport has had some success by increasing the number of passengers it serves.

The airport saw a jump in passengers for May and June compared with the previous two years, Milewski said. That followed lower prices enacted in April by the airline serving the airport.



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