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Stakeholders are considering switching Springfield-Branson National Airport to a standalone regional airport authority.
Photo provided by SPRINGFIELD-BRANSON NATIONAL AIRPORT
Stakeholders are considering switching Springfield-Branson National Airport to a standalone regional airport authority.

Task force recommends removal of airport from city authority

Posted online

A nine-member task force appointed by Springfield City Council yesterday presented its report to the governing body on whether the Springfield-Branson National Airport should remain under municipal control.

Their recommendation is that it shouldn’t and instead be placed under a standalone regional airport authority. It’s currently governed similar to a city department, according to a news release.

“We applaud City Council for taking the steps to assemble this task force to complete a comprehensive review to explore this possibility,” said task force co-Chairman Jim Anderson, who’s also one of 11 board members for the airport, in the release.

Task force members made the recommendation so the airport could better make its own decisions, be more entrepreneurial and better respond to changes in the aviation industry.

Currently under a so-called enterprise fund, the Springfield airport operates semi-independently from the city because it does not receive tax support and it’s self-sufficient. The airport has a roughly $500 million annual economic impact and is expected to serve 1 million passengers this year, according to the release.

The task force also recommended that steps be taken to make sure the airport’s 100 full-time employees are kept on board without pay cuts or a reduction in benefits. The members also are asking for the city to retain its process of appointing board members but broaden the scope regionally and create a committee to implement the change in authority.

The task ford did not recommend a timeline for the authority change, and airport Director of Aviation Brian Weiler said a change to the city charter may be required, according to the release.

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