Advocate editorial board opinion: Airport should end dependency on federal subsidies

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Aug. 15, 2011 at 3:15 a.m.

We were happy to see the Victoria Regional Airport receive its federal subsidy this year. The airport was approved for subsidies through June 30, 2013.

However, all signs in Congress show a continued move toward self-sufficiency for all entities. And not all airports will get their subsidies this year. In fact, 13 rural airports that received more subsidy dollars per passenger (about $1,000 per passenger) were cut.

The Victoria Regional Airport receives a subsidy of $337 a passenger. And the airport serves about 5,500 passengers a year. By our math, that's about $1.85 million a year.

Such an amount taken away could cripple our airport.

Currently, airport flights are being flown by Colgan Air Inc., an airline connecting with Continental in Houston. The carrier uses a 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft for its flights.

We think with Caterpiller Inc. building a manufacturing plant here, the quickly growing university and the huge Eagle Ford shale field, the airport will see an increase in traffic.

With that traffic, we urge the airport to move toward self-sufficiency (more traffic would lead to self-sufficiency) because its subsidies surely will be eliminated or decreased in years to come.

And we note that airport manager Jason Milewsky has indicated he will work toward ending dependency on those subsidies. We encourage him to achieve that goal.

We think the airport is of key importance to our community, and we want it to thrive.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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