The airport authority is faced with some difficult choices as to how it will bring the terminal into compliance if that should prove necessary. It does not have the estimated $35 million to build the third floor the airport was originally designed to accommodate and an also unfunded $4 million dividing wall would present escape- exit problems.
The dilemma facing Guam’s airport is one that airports around the U.S. are coping with.
Dallas Fort Worth Airport has already overcome that challenge and complied with its own TSA requests.
DFW Airport opened in 1974 and is an airline’s hub like Guam International Airport which is a hub for Continental Micronesia.
Jointly owned by the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth DFW is a primary hub of American Airlines which carries approximately 80% of the passengers. For the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 2004 the DFW Airport had 55.6 million passengers with 804 000 operations.
DFW Airport received TSA funds for security improvements and used a bond issue to up-front the money.
Michael Phemister assistant vice president of finance at DFW Airport told the Journal “In 2003 DFW along with other airports was required to provide modifications to its in-line baggage systems to accommodated explosive detection equipment which would be provided by the TSA. TSA agreed to provide 75% funding for a portion of the project which was combined with a 75% AIP (Airport Improrove Project) grant for another portion of the project. The match for the TSA funds and AIP funds was to be provided by PFC revenues.”
“In order to provide interim funding for the project and to begin construction as quickly as possible the airport elected to issue variable rate auction bonds to fund the TSA portion of the project with the idea of using TSA funds as they were received to retire the outstanding bonds. The cost-of-issuance portion of the bonds was to be repaid using PFCs. PFC revenues would also be used to pay any interest until all bonds were retired. This meant there would be no impact on the airlines. The TSA payments were to be received over a three-year period which would mean that all the bonds would be retired over a three-year period.”
DFW airport has already received some of the money from TSA Phemister said. “To date we have received one payment from TSA of approximately $30 million. That money has not yet been used to retire debt. The bond issue was approximately $112 million including all costs of issuance. The construction account received approximately $104 million (which was equal to the amount committed by the TSA).”
The cost of the baggage systems modifications related to the number of terminals and number of systems that we had to modify he said. DFW Airport has five terminals. “There were also modifications to the ramp areas under the terminals to create space for the equipment. We now project that the TSA share will be more like $75 million instead of the $104 million originally forecasted.”
DFW Airport is undergoing a $2.7 million capital improvement plan at the same time with a train and a Hyatt Hotel as part of the plans. “The SkyLink is expected to open within a couple of weeks and the new international terminal and hotel are expected to open around July 1.The modifications to the baggage systems were not part of the Capital Development Plan but initiated by a federal mandate for airports to provide explosive detection in the baggage screening process ” Phemister said.
Frank F. Blas Sr. chairman of the board of the authority returned May 7 from Seattle Wash. where he had attended a conference of airport executives. Blas had hoped to discuss the airport’s security woes with Rear Adm. David M. Stone assistant secretary of homeland security for the Transportation Security Administration but did not meet with Stone.
Blas was accompanied by Rolenda Faasuamali airport marketing administrator Fred Tupas expansion consultant and Elisabeth Blas program coordinator III to the American Association of Airport Executives 77th Annual Conference and Exhibition where Guam had a booth.
The airport authority is hoping to attract the 2nd Annual Asia Pacific Airports Conference to Guam from Oct. 19 to 22 which would mean 200 to 300 airport executives visiting the island. On Guam and in attendance at the ribbon cutting for the Continental hangar at the airport on May 10 was William A. James vice president of the AAAE. James toured the island that day visiting a number of hotels and also took a trip to Cocos Island. It was his first visit to Guam. MBJ