Executive Director’s Message

Michael J. Olson, AAE

Winter 2018 Issue

On January 16, 2018, the Central Nebraska Regional Airport’s automated paid parking system will be operational.

The Airport Board and staff carefully considered implementing paid parking and we understand this decision may not be popular for all who use the airport. However, I would like to share a bit of history as how this decision was made and some of the questions we asked ourselves in the process.

Over the past ten years, the Airport Authority has been successful in recruiting new and additional flights to and from Grand Island.  The positive outcome is reflected in our increased boarding numbers. In 2008 we boarded around 9,000 passengers and in 2016 we boarded over 69,000 passengers. With the substantial increase in passengers it became apparent that the old terminal was not designed to handle the increased volume which lead to the design and construction of a new terminal and additional parking lots.

The Central Nebraska Regional Airport is supported by the tax payers of Hall County. By implementing a user based parking fee, we believe we are being responsive to taxpayer concerns regarding property tax increases.  Over the past few years we conducted multiple parking lot surveys that told us 83% of the vehicles parked in our lots come from outside of Hall County. It was determined that paid parking could provide a new revenue source to offset our increased operating expenses.

I wanted to share some of the questions we asked ourselves as we considered this decision:

Q.  Will we lose our competitive advantage to Lincoln or Omaha by going to paid parking?
A.  Parking rates at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport will be:

  • The first 90 minutes of parking are free in all parking lots.
  • $3.00 per day per vehicle in west lot (west of Sky Park Road).
  • $5.00 per day per vehicle in east lot (east of Sky Park Road).
  • Every 7th day of parking is free.
    The least expensive parking in Lincoln is $6.50/day and Omaha is $6.00/day for remote lots.

Q.  How will payments be processed? 
A.  All payments will be automated.  Cash and credit card payments will be accepted at the Pay On Foot Kiosk located inside the terminal.  Passengers will need to have their entrance ticket in order to pay at the Pay On Foot Kiosk.  Credit card payments will be accepted at the exit lanes of the east and west parking lots. Cash is not accepted at the exit lanes.

Q.   Will passengers from Grand Island have someone drop them off instead of paying for parking?
A.   We believe there already are Grand Island/Hall County passengers who are dropped off at the terminal and expect more will be dropped-off in the future instead of paying for parking. It is worth noting that 17% of the vehicles parking in our lots come from Hall County.

Q.  Why now?
A.  The board and staff have put this decision on hold for the past 3 years. We believe we need to do this now to keep property taxes in check.

Q.  What if I come out to the airport for a short period of time will I have to pay for parking?
A.  We encourage people to continue to come out to the airport and enjoy a meal in the restaurant, pick up or drop off family or friends at the airport, attend celebrations like the Hero Flight Welcome Home, and so forth. This is why we offer visitors to the airport the first 90 minutes of parking at no charge.

We have outfitted the terminal and parking lots with new signage and will have staff available to assist our customers.

The Hall County Airport Authority Board and staff want to thank you for contributing to the success of the Central Nebraska Regional Airport and for your continued support.

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