The Asheville Regional Airport Authority met Friday. Here are the highlights from the action and discussion:
-Airport security remains a top priority: That was the bottom-line message from Shane Stockman, the airport’s IT director, who delivered a full status report on both cyber security issues, as well as the physical security of the airport.
There’s a plan to spend $2.1 million to improve physical security, such as cameras and gates, Stockman said.
One aspect of the airport’s physical security system is its emergency operations center, where airport officials monitor cameras and security systems. Stockman said the center was key for FBI investigators, who used the room to collect evidence that led to the arrest within hours of the discovery last October of a makeshift bomb placed on a curb outside the airport terminal.
On the cyber front, Stockman said the airport made a number of changes in 2016 after it suffered a ransomware attack in April 2016. The attack was contained and the airport never paid any money to the attackers, he said. But the airport did invest in a new “backup network appliance,” and it replaced aging servers.
Upcoming projects include turning on the airport’s new airfield lighting system, upgrading the airport’s public address system and going live with an antennae system to improve cellular phone coverage at the airport, Stockman said.
-The airport authority approved spending $1.47 million to build a new apron that will offer enough space to park one large airplane. The construction project is scheduled to begin in about a month.
-The airport authority approved a new fee structure for folks that offer ground transportation. The airport is dropping annual permit fees for taxis and limos, as well as Ubers and Lyfts, and moving to a per-trip fee structure. Under the new rates, limo and taxi drivers will be charged $2.50 per trip to the airport, while Uber and Lyfts will be charged $3.50 per trip. (The annual permit fee for charter buses remains the same, at $4,000.)
How it works: All the limos, taxis and Ubers won’t be allowed to park in front of the terminal building any longer and will be moved to a parking lot that’s right next to the airport terminal’s southern end, where the baggage claim area is located. Drivers will be issued badges, and every time they badge into the lot, they’ll be charged with the per-trip charge.
-The airport authority approved opening almost all of its meeting minutes from closed sessions it held in 2017.
-The airport authority held a closed session to discuss an ongoing lawsuit with a contractor, and put off action on hiring a new contractor to finish runway construction that’s been ongoing for about four years.
Why are they charging Uber/lyft drivers more? What if they don’t “badge in”? Why does the airport, paid for with tax dollars, get to charge anyone to pick up or drop off? As a flyer part of my ticket is allocated for pfc or passenger facility charge? That should cover fees like this.