Other Airports May Follow As More Airliners Parked
A South Carolina airport has found a
way to generate some cash from current airline woes. Florence
Regional Airport (FLO) officials want the word to get out: if you
have a plane to park, they have the place to park your plane.
FLO Executive Director Hartsell Rogers says his airport has
enough space for about 150 regional jets. He told the Florence
Daily News he got the idea during a trip to one famous aviation
"I was out in Mojave, California, a couple years ago and
I’d noticed a lot of airports out there generate revenue by
parking planes," he said. "I began putting the word out there that
the space is here."
Initially, response was slow; after all, those were
comparatively heady times for most airlines, and those carriers
needed all the capacity they could get. But that was then, and this
is a very tough "now." A third-party maintenance group recently
contacted Rogers, saying they had an airline client interested in
parking some aircraft either at Florence, or in California.
"I said to him there is no reason to waste gas," Rogers said.
"Park them here. It’s just a way for your friendly local
airport director to generate revenue."
Today, 12 Mesa Air Group CRJs -- all wearing faded Delta
Connection tiles -- grace the ramp at FLO. Rogers says he expects
as many as 38 planes there eventually, from that single contract.
Some may be parked as little as a month, Rogers adds, while others
could stay there a year or more.
The airport won't get rich off the money earned for renting the
space... but parking the planes brings in thousands of new dollars
each month, Rogers says, from land that would otherwise remain
"We hope this is the beginning of a business we can grow.
We’re just trying to rent space."
And as more airlines parked their aging planes... we expect many
other airports to consider becoming parking lots, to offset lower