The mainline air carriers voiced concerns Tuesday about how the Quad-City International Airport is dividing the annual fee they pay for shared common areas among the airport's carriers.
Speaking on behalf of Delta, United and American airlines, Blaine Peters, Delta Air Lines' regional director of corporate real estate, told the Rock Island County Metropolitan Airport Authority that, they are concerned that "excess funds required of the mainlines."
Peters, who was the lone speaker during a public hearing on a proposed rates and charges ordinance, said the legacy carriers want "a level playing field." Without naming Allegiant, the airport's fourth airline, he indicated that the mainline airlines question whether the competition "is getting an advantage."
Angela Burch, the airport's finance director, said the issue has been raised as the airport has negotiated for the past year with all four carriers on a new Airline Use and Lease Agreement.
"We have four airlines, all of which are important to the viability and customer satisfaction of this airport," she said in an interview after the meeting. "But one operates off a very different business model than the other three legacy carriers. So we feel we have selected a rates and charges model that is a compromise to accommodate both airline models."
The new ordinance was approved unanimously, without any discussion, by the airport authority at its regular meeting Tuesday.
According to Burch, the new model uses a formula that calculates the airlines' fees based on the same set of factors, including operations and enplanements.
Peters said the airlines have no issue with the landing fees or lease payment for their exclusive areas. But the airlines split costs for common areas, including the terminal, concourse and baggage area.
Allegiant, which operates a less frequent flight schedule, is the first carrier to sign a new lease, Burch said. The lease also was approved by the airport authority Tuesday.
Peters, a Quad-City native, acknowledged that the issue is "not just a Moline concern. We have the same concerns at many airports."
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In fact, Burch said the airline industry has raised the issue over equitable fares with the Federal Aviation Administration. "In response, the FAA has indicated that fees be fair, reasonable, not unjustly discriminatory and equitably apportioned," she said.
The new policy was in response to that ruling, she added.
According to Burch, the airport's management is continuing to work on lease agreements with the other carriers.
In other business, the authority approved a new lease with Schneider Resources Inc. of Des Moines, to lease 14 parking spaces at the airport's air cargo building to park Schneider Trucking trailers. The firm will pay $17,000 a year in rent.