City of Tulsa to transition operations of Tulsa International Airport

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 1/17 9:36 pm Published: 1/17 4:33 pm

It's a change that could save the city of Tulsa millions during the next few years.

As part of a series of reorganization changes the mayor announced on Friday, the city will no longer operate the Tulsa International Airport.

The Tulsa Airport Trust, which now operates the airport, is hopeful the new arrangement will help them to attract new flights into Tulsa and possibly lower fares.

Jay Garrison said there aren't enough options at TIA these days.

"It's just a smaller city. I think, you know ... I think it's not growing, so we're going to lose flights with our airport. And we've seen a lot of them go just recently," said Garrison.

Neal Pansari said the options that are here are generally too expensive.

"I wanted to go to Las Vegas last month and it was $273 from here, I guess. The same flight from Denver was $68, pretty cheap," said Pansari.

But those who run the airport say that could soon change.

As of Friday the city still owns the airport, but the Tulsa Airports Authority now operates it at zero cost to taxpayers.

As part of the agreement the airport functions become more efficient because the trust will internally handle financial duties, human resources and IT.

Airports Director Jeff Mulder said the savings that creates will be used to attract more flights to and from Tulsa.

"The airlines pay landing fees and terminal rentals. So when they're looking at markets and what they pay to operate out of Tulsa, if we can keep those costs low then we'll have more success keeping them here and attracting new service," said Mulder.

And if airlines costs are lower here, air fares could potentially drop in price.

"From what you're explaining it sounds like a win-win situation; good for Tulsa citizens to be able to have options for more flights and also to cut the budget down," said Garrison.

Giving up control of operations at the airport is expected to save the city about half a million dollars a year.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 1/20/2014 11:34 AM
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Pretty obtuse reporting. What is the distance from Denver to Vegas vs the distance from Tulsa to Vegas.
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