Jesus Q. “Jesse” Torres incoming executive manager at the Guam International Airport intends to make full use of the private sector to support the airport’s mission he told the Journal.

The airport presently has 236 employees not necessarily an adequate number to support its services. Torres said “Airport operation is always dynamic. I am advised the airport police are rather short of personnel. The answer is not necessarily to start hiring additional people but to look at security agencies on-island and look at contractual arrangements.”

Torres said if security company personnel met prearranged airport requirements the airport would be able to call on the agencies to supply manpower to such areas as traffic direction and car-park security. “It doesn’t hurt to create opportunities so the private sector can come in. If government can’t do it why not?”

He said the airport had kept personnel numbers and costs relatively low compared to other government agencies. “Our personnel costs are down to the low 40% or high 30%. Out of about $26 million over 54% is with the private sector.”

Torres intended to move forward with the airport’s planned construction projects which he said were of a value of about $200 000 to about $10 million. “There is also the continuous improvement of our runways and taxiways and the fencing RFP has just been awarded.”

Upcoming capital improvement projects include:
• The ongoing extension of runway 6L/24R valued at $24 million;
• the roadway beautification program together with the Guam Visitors Bureau valued at $100 000;
• the restoration and upgrade of power and water utilities on airport property valued at $7 million.

The airport announced June 22 that it has embarked on a Residential Sound Insulation Program to help reduce the impact of aircraft sound in homes surrounding the airport. The RSIP will generate approximately $13M in economic activity and will be implemented in phases over several years.

He said the airport would review federal grants in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Authority in Honolulu and encourage additional tenants to maximize the airport’s economic potential. “We have all this vacant property sitting idle that is not doing the airport any good.”

Torres said the airport’s master plan which was being upgraded by Leo Daley & Associates of Hawaii is imminent. Torres wants the airport to offer among other options additional warehouse facilities for airlines a fumigation plant cold storage and improved warehouse facilities for customs and the Transport Safety Administration. “These things don’t happen overnight but we have to make a start.”

In addition he said he would like to see more offerings at the airport. “It’s got to be more friendly so people feel they have a stake in their airport. It would offer increased business opportunities and be good for people seeing friends family and visitors off.”

Torres said he wanted to maintain close relations with airport tenants and stakeholders meeting monthly to keep communication open and avoid potential problems and continue networking with other Asia Pacific airports.

He would also review the airport’s relationship with Mair Mair Spade & Thompson its law firm. “It’s no secret we were very satisfied with their work for the airport. That said we should be able to review whether the board is getting the best bang for its buck. My recommendation is that we continue but I’m going to be asking for a reduction in compensation — in terms of their fees.”

Torres met with the Journal on June 18 the day before he took up his appointment. He was a member of the airport’s board for 18 months and previously served as the executive manager from January 1985 to January 1987. He said revenue had improved consistently. “We were in the red when I came on board and after my first year as manager we were about $90 000 in the black. Every year the record would reflect we were increasing our revenue.” MBJ