Airport Advisory Board meets, possible change to regional airport

ST. GEORGE — The newly formed Airport Advisory Board of the City of St. George met for the first time at the St. George Municipal Airport Wednesday for preliminary information and to start discussing airport issues, including a possible name change.

While the board has been in the works for some time, with some members having been asked to join months ago, the board was finally fully formed and ready to meet Wednesday under the direction of Mayor Jon Pike and other members of the city council.

Members of the board include people from across the community who know about the clientele the airport serves and about aviation in general.

Josh Bevans, one of the founders of Steamroller Copies, is the chairman of the board. Members of the board will serve for terms ranging from one to four years, at which point they can be reappointed.

While the board does not have the authority to make decisions for the airport, it will be an advisory source for decisions the St. George City Council will make.

After the board members introduced themselves and reviewed pertinent bylines, airport manager Rich Stehmeier briefed the board on basic airport goings-on.

The biggest issue members discussed, which Stehmeier brought up, was the possibility of a name change for the airport. He said the proposed change would be altering the airport’s name from St. George Municipal Airport to St. George Regional Airport.

He said this change would bring more credibility and business to the airport, but it could take some costs upfront, as the airport would face stricter regulations.

Among other changes Stehmeier discussed was a possible increase in the passenger facility fee across all publicly controlled airports. This change would increase the fee from $4.50 per passenger, which it has been at for almost 20 years, to $8.

The increase has been hotly discussed in the aviation community, as many airlines do not want to have to pay the money. Stehmeier said the fee goes strictly to airport maintenance, but since maintenance costs have increased significantly, the fee should also increase.

He also talked about building a fence at the airport that would provide additional parking space for events at the airport and for the Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum.

Stehmeier brought up the possible addition of a car washing station at the airport, which would mostly benefit the rental car companies. Stehmeier said since they are one of their biggest financial supports, this could be an important addition for them.

He also mentioned the fact that some planes from Canada had been inquiring about flying into the airport, so he has been researching the possibility of becoming an international airport, but nothing official has been done on that front.

The board’s meetings are open to the general public. Members will meet again in June to explore the airport name change more extensively.

Information about board meetings will be posted online on the city’s website at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

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  • mmsandie May 14, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Everyone thought the new airport would have flights and different airlines, that never happened. It could have more flights with all the national events and international events we have..there seems to be a monopoly at the airport, I thought a change with a new mayor would change things..

  • CaliGirl May 14, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    How about recruiting Allegiant or Southwest of some other airlines to serve this area?

    • Bender May 14, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      You’ll need to recruit 250,000 of your Facebook friends to move here before that will happen CALIGIRL.

  • pappy May 15, 2015 at 12:41 am

    Who are the other members of the Advisory Board?

  • An actual Independent May 15, 2015 at 7:42 am

    There were a lot of assumptions that people made in regard to the new airport having more flights, etc. Many of those assumptions were based on nothing.
    Just because there’s a big runway…that doesn’t mean large jet loads of people will suddenly be clamoring to take off and land on it. A change of elected official will also not create demand. A mayor cannot simply order airlines to come here and operate at a loss.
    Airlines wish to operate for profit. Skywest is a growing, profitable enterprise which loses money on its operations right here at its HQ. We’ll get additional airlines and flights when we are willing to pay for them at a price the airlines can live with.
    Additionally, there will always be a MAJOR hub airport about 120 miles away in Las Vegas. Airlines will always have a lot of fully booked flights going in and out of there, and the cost of tickets on those flights will remain relatively low because of it.
    Nobody is going to be scheduling 8 flights a week from St George to anywhere unless they can fill those seats with paying passengers.

  • fun bag May 15, 2015 at 9:04 am

    So your saying that they wasted 100 million Obama dollars on an airport we never needed in the first place?

    • anyonemouse May 15, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      “100 million Obama dollars”

      What a generous guy. How did he get so wealthy?

      • 42214 May 15, 2015 at 3:34 pm

        By taking your tax dollars, if you pay taxes. Only 50% of us do.

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