Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015
By Gene Wexler
he Jacksonville Aviation Authority is having its best financial year since before the recession and says that could lead to more jobs and options for the city.
JAA Chief Executive Officer Steven Grossman says their strategy has been to diversify their revenue and reduce debt.
“It’s what you have to do in today’s business climate to be successful,” he says.
According to Grossman, JAA’s revenues were in the $3.5 to $4 million dollar range in fiscal year 2009. Last fiscal year, he says they finished at more than $8 million in revenue while holding expenses relatively flat at $2 to $2.5 million.
“The net cash flow from Cecil has increased dramatically,” Grossman says. “It’s a big growth area.”
JAA acquired Cecil Airport back in 2000. They leased out 1.2 million square feet of building space and built over 600 thousand additional square feet of space, which is also leased entirely. About four thousand people work at Cecil every day.
"We think we have a lot of opportunities to attract new companies and to create a lot of employment,” Grossman says.
At the Jacksonville International Airport, Grossman says this is the first year they’ve seen significant growth in passengers since 2007. Parking continues to be their single biggest “non-airline” source of revenue, about $16 or $17 million a year. The money is mostly used to fund other projects.
Grossman says they’re currently working with Allegiant Air to possibly add new destinations.
“It will give the traveling public more choices on a very low fare airline and add a little competition amongst the carriers, which is always good,” he says.
Grossman says the goal right now is for JAA to become more efficient and provide better customer service.