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Charleston airport board expects growing revenues expenses in fiscal year 2017

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The Charleston International Airport board projects operating revenues to jump about 19% to $46.8 million in fiscal year 2017.

The Charleston County Aviation Authority unanimously approved its fiscal year 2017 financial plan during its monthly board meeting Thursday. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Charleston International Airport’s terminal makeover is expected to bring in more passengers and revenue to the airport, as well as increase maintenance costs. (Photo/Liz Segrist)The airport’s budget was shaped by growing passenger traffic, which is up 10.5% from the same time in 2015, and a nearly completed, $200 million terminal expansion and renovation project.

Of the anticipated $46.8 million operating revenues, the board expects parking to bring in more than $10 million for fiscal 2017, which is up 12%, or about $1.2 million, from last year. It also anticipates bringing in about $5.3 million from businesses renting space in the terminal, food and drink sales and advertising revenues — a 28% year-over-year jump.

Operating expenses are expected to increase 10% to about $25 million. Increased expenses are caused, in part, by the ongoing terminal overhaul. A larger airport increases costs of building maintenance, janitorial services and property insurance.

Other operating expenses include plans to hire six employees to handle baggage under the airport as part of its new automated baggage handling system, and a 3.5% raise for employees, which will be determined by merit.

Fiscal 2017 capital expenses — which include three new vehicles, new luggage carts, new security cameras and engineering planning for a planned parking deck — are estimated to cost around $7.6 million.

The airport also has to pay off $174.5 million in debt, which was borrowed in 2013 for the terminal redevelopment project. For fiscal 2017, the airport board approved paying off $12.4 million on the bonds issued.

For the coming fiscal year, the authority plans to focus on transitioning from construction mode to more stable operations, increasing advertising for the airport, and planning for parking expansions to accommodate a growing passenger count, budget documents show.

Editor's note: The original version of this story reported an incorrect figure for anticipated parking revenue for fiscal year 2017. The airport expects to generate more than $10 million from parking in fiscal 2017.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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