Bill Will Help Airports Raise Money

Ohio lawmakers have approved legislation that is designed to enable the state’s airports to work with businesses to attract air service as well as improve airport facilities.

The legislation allows regional airport authorities, port authorities and municipal corporations to create an airport development district that can work with businesses within a five-mile radius to generate revenue for airport infrastructure and other expenses, including offering incentives to attract new airline service.

The legislation is seen as being particularly useful for the establishment of such districts surrounding Akron-Canton Airport, Akron Fulton Municipal Airport, Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport, Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, and Dayton International Airport.

Businesses will be permitted under the law to make contributions that can be paid in lump sums or as assessments on property.

However, those contributions will be voluntary. There is legal authority for a development district to impose a tax.

Akron-Canton Airport is expected to use revenue raised by a district to seek airline service.

The airport has lost flights in the past few years, including those operated by Southwest and Delta airlines.

In other instances, low fare carriers Frontier and Allegiant moved flights that had been serving  Akron-Canton to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Airport officials have said one of their more immediate goals is to try to get Delta to resume flying the route between Akron-Canton and Atlanta.

Delta suspended that route in May, citing steep passenger declines due to the CVOID-19 pandemic.

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