Victoria airport plans for security expenses

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

June 18, 2012 at 1:18 a.m.

With the promise of a new carrier and more frequent flights, Victoria Regional Airport is anticipating its increased operating costs.

Airport Manager Jason Milewski presented a grant application to Victoria County Commissioners on Monday that would cover four years of salary for airport security.

Victoria County Commissioners approved the airport's grant application to the Department of Homeland Security-Transportation Security Administration's Law Enforcement Officer Reimbursement Program.

County Judge Don Pozzi said the airport is currently participating in the program.

"With the flight schedule change, I would assume there will be some additional expenses because these people will be required to be out there more," Pozzi said.

The airport recently approved recommending Sun Air International, a Florida-based airline service, as a replacement for Colgan Air Inc., which will discontinue service June 30.

Sun Air is expected to begin providing four daily flights to Houston Intercontinental Airport starting in late July.

County Administrative Services Director Joyce Dean said the security officer will work about 450 additional hours because of the additional flights.

The grant application initially asked for $157,191 from TSA, with an $81,984 county match, but will be amended before submission Wednesday to include the extra 250 hours, she said. An exact dollar amount had not been calculated, she said.

Milewski said Sun Air will submit paperwork this week confirming their interline agreements with major airlines. Those agreements were a deciding factor in the airport commission's decision to support Sun Air over SeaPort Airlines. Interline agreements allow passengers to book one ticket for their trip, rather than one to Houston and a separate one for the remainder of the trip, and check bags and go through security once.

He said he does not anticipate any issues with Sun Air's agreements.

Once the U.S. Department of Transportation approves Sun Air as the Essential Air Service carrier for Victoria Regional Airport, a 30-day delay for flight service would be likely, Milewski said. There could also be another lag on the reservation side before Houston airlines recognize Sun Air's interline agreements, he said.



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