ABIA considers new incentives to bring in more nonstop, international flights

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is proposing a handful of new incentives to attract more flights and nonstop routes.

The city’s aviation director is proposing that all new airlines and any airline that introduces a new, non-stop route get facility fee waivers and marketing benefits.

“We’re on the cusp of becoming a large airport, and we recognize that with that comes additional desires from our passengers to be able to get different places,” said ABIA spokeswoman Mandy McClendon.

ABIA would prioritize the implementation of certain new routes, with a focus on nonstop service to destinations like Hawaii, Amsterdam, Beijing, Dublin, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo.

This proposal would replace the airport’s existing incentive program, which prioritized flights to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Paris and Tokyo. Since the existing program was put in place, nonstop flights to Frankfurt and London have been added at ABIA.

“Just our British Airways London nonstop flight alone puts about $75 million into our economy every year,” McClendon said, adding that airport officials expect the addition of new international flights to have a great economic impact on the city.

Special incentives would also be given to airlines that add nonstop service to destinations in North, Central and South America.

All airlines would have a required average of at least eight departures out of ABIA a month, for a full year.

Proposed airport incentive program details

Incentives for new airlines:

  • The airline must have an average of at least 8 departures per month for 12 consecutive months.
  • All facilities fees and landing fees will be waived for 12 months.

Incentives for existing airlines that add new continental US routes:

  • Landing fees for flights on a new route will be waived for 12 months (up from 6 months in the existing program)
  • A marketing incentive of up to $25,000 in advertising/marketing costs per route may be given, not to exceed $50,000 total (down from $50,000 and $100,000, respectively, in the existing program)

Incentives for airlines that add nonstop service to Hawaii:

  • Landing fees for flights on the route would be waived for 24 months
  • A marketing incentive of up to $100,000 in advertising/marketing costs for a year would be given, then $50,000 for a second year

Incentives for airlines that add nonstop service to North/Central/South America:

  • Landing fees for flights on those routes would be waived for 12 months (up from 6 months in the existing program)
  • A marketing incentive of up to $100,000 in advertising/marketing costs for a year would be given, then $50,000 for a second year (existing program only offers $100,000 for the first year)

Incentives for airlines that add nonstop service on international priority routes:

  • Priority destinations are Amsterdam, Beijing, Dublin, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo
  • All facilities fees and landing fees would be waived for 24 months
  • A marketing incentive up to $300,000 would be given in advertising/marketing costs for a year, then $200,000 for a second year (up from $200,000 for the first year and $200,000 for the second year in the existing program).

Incentives for airlines that add new nonstop transoceanic seasonal routes:

  • Seasonal routes must be operated for a minimum of two flights per week, for no less than 8 weeks (down from no less than 10 weeks in the existing program)
  • All facilities fees and landing fees would be waived for 12 months
  • A marketing incentive between $50,000 and $150,000 in advertising/marketing costs for a year would be offered, then up to $100,000 for a second year (up from between $50,000 and $100,000 in the first year only)

In order to go into effect, the new incentive proposal would need to be adopted by the city between Sept. 10 and Oct. 18. McClendon says if the proposal is adopted, it could still take a while to get new international flights at ABIA.

The city of Austin is currently seeking public comment on the proposal. Anyone with feedback can call Susana Carbajal at 512-530-6364 or email her at susana.carbajal@abia.org.

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