John Settle-Opinion-May 2015A constant question that is asked by those using air transportation into and out of the Shreveport Regional Airport is that of the airline fares—why are they higher than deemed “customary”? This question is never answered in terms that seem “logical”, especially when the gates utilized most frequently are the one the furthest from the terminal, i.e. the least convenience, and the flight options are somewhat limited.

The Shreveport Airport Authority (SAA) is a Shreveport City Agency and it is managed by a board of directors appointed by the Mayor. Its revenues are derived from tax dollars (local, state and federal), landing fees paid by airlines, boarding fees paid by passengers, parking lot income, and rental fees paid by various vendors operating on the 2 airport properties—the Shreveport Downtown Airport and the Shreveport Regional Airport. The SAA is governed by its 5 person Board of Directors; the current members are Bishop Larry Brandon, Mary Jackson, Margaret Shehee and Waynette Ballengee—one position is vacant. Presumably the SAA budget is approved by its Board.Shreveport Regional Airport

During the past 4 years, the SAA has made sponsorship contributions to the Shreveport Mudbugs ($3500), Red River Revel ($5000), State Fair of Louisiana ($5000), Shreveport Symphony ($7000), SRAC’s Christmas in the Sky ($15,000), DSU’s Mudbug Madness ($17,500), and The Strand Theatre ($20,000). Smaller sums have been paid for sponsorships/advertising with the Steve Harvey Show, American Idol, and River City Repertory Theatre.

Non-Profit $$-New AirlinesWith the exception of The Strand, free tickets have been provided to these events—to either the staff of the SAA and/or its Board of Directors. Seemingly this practice should be discontinued—the “reward” of free tickets in exchange for the purchase of sponsorships/advertising by a public agency. Admittedly the overall dollars are not tremendous when viewed in the totality of the SAA budget, but the fiscal responsibility and public accountability dictates this practice cease.