Boise Airport to offer new airline incentives

The program will allow carriers more flexibility in applying discounts when they add service.

sberg@idahostatesman.comJune 3, 2014 

0727 local departure

A jet airliner lifts off from the Boise Airport at sunset.

DARIN OSWALD — Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman Buy Photo

The Boise Airport's existing incentive program discounts up to $100,000 that airlines pay for runway use during the first year they add service between Boise and a new destination.

An enhanced version of that program, which the Boise City Council is scheduled to consider on Tuesday, wouldn't change the amount of money available in discounts, airport director Rebecca Hupp said Monday. Instead, the new program would allow airlines to receive discounts on their use of other airport space, such as ticket counters and parking gates.

Boise competes with airports around the country for service to new destinations. Airlines constantly analyze where they're putting airplanes to determine the most profitable bases for them.

That's why the city offers incentives for new service, whether it's from an airline that already has a presence in Boise or a new airline. But so far, Boise has avoided more extreme - and potentially costly - incentives, such as offering to guarantee a certain amount of income on a new flight.

Instead, its incentives are credits against fees that airlines pay to operate their flights at the airport.

Bill Connors, president and CEO of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, said Boise's approach is about right.

"It can't hurt," he said Monday. "Airlines make business decisions that involve way more factors than just this, but cost of doing business in the airport is one of those big decision-makers."

After shrinking during the Great Recession, the airport's list of nonstop destinations has grown to 20.

Airlines added flights to Houston, San Diego and Chicago Midway in the past year.

Hupp said the Houston and San Diego flights are eligible for the incentive program's discounts.

Sven Berg: 377-6275

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