MBS Airport Approves 2022 Budget, Announces Better Times Ahead

The MBS International Airport Commission concluded this year’s meeting schedule by approving its 2022 budget and indicating better days ahead for the beleaguered airline industry.

The airport’s new budget of $ 4.9 million represents an increase of approximately 5% or $ 244,000 over the 2021 budget. Most of the increase ($ 130,000) comes from the goods and services that MBS has withheld buying for the past two years in an attempt to save funds due to the devastating impact of COVID-19 on air travel.

“Another $ 90,000 of the additional budgeted amount was the simple result of the 20-45% increase in the cost of goods and services,” said James Canders, airport manager for MBS.

After two pandemic years, 2020 and 2021, which saw passenger numbers drop by around 56%, “Air traffic is still slowly coming back and we are optimistic the trend will continue,” Canders said.

His optimism is fueled by projections from the airline industry that show air traffic to return to pre-COVID 2019 levels by 2024, although the emergence of the latest COVID-19 Omicron variant is a concern.

“I’m confident we’ll be able to get through the next two years,” Canders said. “Overall, MBS has conservatively forecast a 15% increase in revenue from 2021.”

The projected increase in income is not sufficient to cover rising costs, including collectively negotiated employee wage increases and pension obligations. This, in addition to the sharp drops in air travel due to COVID, presents budgetary challenges that have necessitated a significant tightening of the belt across the board. But MBS has $ 1.53 million in Coronavirus Relief and Response Act funding that will be used to balance the budget.

“We ended up making up about $ 900,000 of our lost revenue with federal grants awarded in 2021,” Canders said, noting that this was a decrease from the $ 1.3 million that MBS had to use additional funds in 2020.

Canders told commissioners that MBS staff will continuously monitor the budget throughout the year and periodically implement new cost-saving measures as the airport continues its cautious approach to spending.

MBS’s financial year begins on January 1, 2022 and ends on December 31, 2022.

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