Originally created 10/26/01

Airport lays off workers



After weeks of discussing how to trim its staff, Augusta Regional Airport officials have decided to lay off 18 workers.

The Augusta Aviation Commission approved the reduction during a closed meeting Thursday.

An additional 14 positions that already were vacant or currently filled by temporary, contracted labor are included in the reduction. In addition, two positions that were filled by temporary workers will now become permanent.

The changes leave the airport with 69 positions - down 30 workers from before.

"At this stage, every position has been examined," said airport spokeswoman Kathryn Solee.

She said the cuts affect all the airport's departments.

Also at Thursday's meeting, aviation commissioners discussed renegotiating one of the airport's consulting contracts.

When the airport hired Kiehl Hendrickson earlier in the year to head up Augusta Regional's air service recruitment, the company suggested not receiving a flat fee.

Instead, it wanted to receive $3 for each new passenger flying out of the airport once new airlines came.

Although the consultants played a large role in Continental's plans to start service at Augusta Regional, they have not received any money.

Increased passenger levels are not expected this year, and Continental has put off expansion plans while dealing with the financial impact of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"They have certainly performed and have done their job," Ms. Solee said.

The suggestion to the board was to pay the consultants $64,000 for the year in addition to reimbursed expenses.

While the board said it was fair to pay the consultants for their work, members voted to examine further other payment possibilities.

Reach Vicky Eckenrode at (706) 823-3227 or vicky.eckenrode@augustachronicle.com.