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Albany County Airport Authority passes $48.3M budget

The Albany County Airport Authority approved a $48.3 million budget for 2009, a 3.4 percent increase over 2008's projected spending, at its Monday, Dec. 1, meeting.

Last year's budget was $46.7 million.

The Albany International Airport is projecting passenger enplanements, or the number of individual passengers boarding a plane, to reach 1,362,000 in 2009.

The cost per enplanement has been $8.36 in 2008. With the new budget, the cost should reflect a 1.2 percent increase, at $8.46 per enplanement.

To date, the airport has seen 1,179,946 enplanements in 2008, according to Director of Public Affairs Doug Myers.

Myers said the airport's budget is very different from town and school district budgets because it is based on enplanements, and because the airport generates its own revenue, deriving none of its budget from taxpayers.

We are totally funded through airport revenue, said Myers, who explained that the airport currently retains about $3 for every person that passes through the checkpoint at the airport, which is why enplanement plays such a huge factor in the airport's budget.

"Then, we get other revenue," said Myers. "We get revenue from car rental agencies just from renting space. We get rental income from transportation and our concessions. Then we get money from the airlines because when they land they also pay ramp space for parking."

Myers said the most important thing is that the revenue and costs to operate the airport even out.

"At the end of the year, we want to be sure that all our bills are paid, that we've paid our debt service and that we hopefully have something left over to share with our airlines," he said.

The Albany International Airport Authority budget is crafted by a budget committee that closely examines the budget, tweaking it to make sure the budget only contains the most necessary items. Like any other budget, after questions have been raised and items reconsidered, the budget committee then goes back and creates a final version that reflects the changes.

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