Consultant: Don’t overlook non-terminal airport needs

In focusing on construction of a new terminal, the City of Minot must be careful not to overlook needs of its other airport facilities, a consultant told the Minot City Council’s Airport Committee Tuesday.

Kim Kenville of Grand Forks, who is working with the airport on strategic planning, said the Minot airport has a number of strengths, including a dedicated fixed-based operator, quality staff and plenty of airfield property. However, it also has an out-dated general aviation terminal and cargo facilities and fuel facilities whose limited reserves risk grounding flights.

Airport director Andrew Solsvig said the airport’s proposed 2015 budget will include the purchase of an additional fuel tank to increase the reserves at the airport. Currently, the fuel farm has a day or two of reserves.

Fuel supplies have been adequate, but Kenville pointed out that a storm or shipping emergency that stops an incoming fuel shipment could cause the airport to run out. Getting fuel from an alternative source in an emergency would be costly, she added.

Kenville listed four recommendations based on stakeholder meetings held during the planning process. She recommended the city:

develop a mission statement for the airport.

develop a strategic plan for the airport.

allocate resources to implement a strategic plan.

finalize work on general aviation areas and other areas not associated with the terminal.

She also said that once the commercial terminal is built, the city should conduct a feasibility study to determine whether to establish an airport authority to govern operations. The city should consider imposing a mill levy for the airport and adding staff in support areas such as finance, information technology and terminal services, she added.

Kenville suggested the airport may need to improve customer services in its new terminal.

“The people of Minot are going to have greater expectations for this facility, and you have to figure out what you are going to do to meet those expectations,” she said.