Board supports spending $200k for aircraft parking |

Board supports spending $200k for aircraft parking

Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday informally approved spending $200,000 to reconfigure aircraft parking at the Aspen airport.

John Kinney, airport director, said that once the change is implemented, airplanes will park with their noses facing the terminal rather than the current system of parking parallel to the terminal.

The new configuration will increase the number of parking spots from six to eight, while keeping two extra spots for overnight parking, he said. It also will eliminate the jet engine blast and fumes that now occur when planes leave the terminal area, Kinney said. Tugs would push the jets away from the terminal under the new system, he said.

“It’s a safer operation and more environmentally friendly in terms of fumes,” Kinney said.

Most of the $200,000 would go toward creating new passenger walkways and outdoor gate areas for the parked planes, he said.

Commissioner Rachel Richards wanted to know if the airlines, who will operate the tugs, will supply an appropriate number of employees to get the job done. She cited previous instances where passengers have been forced to wait because airline personnel were not available to perform a particular task.

Kinney said the airlines have assured him that they will have more staff than previous years.

Commissioners approved spending the $200,000 for the 2016 budget cycle at Tuesday’s informal work session. Formal approval will come at one of the board’s regular meetings in the near future.