In this Oct. 2017 file photo, an airline passenger crosses the terminal pick-up lane, heading toward the parking lot at the Quad-City International Airport in Moline. 

The Quad-City International Airport has implemented a new application process for ground transportation companies — such as taxi and ride-sharing services — looking to pick up passengers at the terminal. 

The new process follows last month's agreement between the Moline airport and ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft. The Rock Island County Metropolitan Airport Authority Board of Commissioners approved the three-year agreements, adding a fixed annual charge and $3 fee each time a driver picks up a passenger at the terminal.

Other companies looking to pick up passengers at the airport will now have to follow the same application process.

Executive Director Benjamin Leischner said having the formal agreement in place helps mitigate the airport's liability risk by, for example, requiring Uber and Lyft to self-report the number of rides each month.

"We’ve made necessary improvements for passengers relying on ground transportation operators in order to ensure a positive and safe experience for our travelers," Leischner said in a statement. "Service providers were invited to participate and provide feedback on the permit application process. A primary focus of the change was centered on safety and insurance, which better protects both the passenger and the airport."

He said the monthly rate paid by ground transportation companies has not increased since 2004, but the airport is continuing to "find ways to improve the overall passenger experience." 

There are eight permitted ground transportation operators providing services at the airport. 

Passenger numbers stabilizing with 1% uptick last month

The number of passengers using the Quad-City International Airport continued to tick upward last month. 

So far this year, the airport has reported higher passenger numbers than in 2018, which largely was a recovery period for the airport after a drop in passengers the year before. 

In April, the airport reported 29,295 enplanements, a 1% jump from the same month last year, which saw 28,885 passengers. Leischner reported the numbers during Tuesday's meeting of the Rock Island County Metropolitan Airport Authority Board of Commissioners.

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Last month's total passengers, including enplanements and deplanements, also rose 1% over the year. Passengers totaled 59,125 in April, slightly higher than the 58,339 passengers in April 2018.

United Express reported the biggest boost in passenger numbers, with 7,148 people boarding flights, an 18% jump from the same month last year.

Allegiant reported 5,323 enplanements in April, a 7% over-the-year drop. American Eagle reported 9% fewer enplanements than last year.

Airport names new public safety manager

After a national search, Quad-City airport officials have named a new public safety manager.

Jeff Swan, who has served in public safety for the airport authority for more than 19 years, will take on the role after serving in the interim.

"Jeff has demonstrated his commitment to the airport, as well as to his team, by being an accountable manager that isn’t afraid to lead from the front and own his decisions — constantly putting his team and our passengers before himself," Leischner said. "This is yet another great example of our organization investing in our most capable employees by creating internal promotional opportunities."

Swan will be sworn in at next month's board meeting. 

Punta Gorda flights to return Dec. 19

Flights from Moline to Punta Gorda, Fla. will return Dec. 19, airport officials said.

This winter's schedule includes Allegiant flights on Dec. 19, 22, 24, 26, 29 and 31. The January and February schedule features twice-weekly nonstop flights, with one arrival and one departure each day, on Sundays and Thursdays.

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