Things are looking up at M08

Revenues at the Hardeman County Airport (M08), also known as William L. Whitehurst Memorial Field, in Bolivar, Tennessee, are on the way up, according to figures for fuel sales and rents compiled after the county’s fiscal year ended June 30, 2012.

Rent is charged for airport hangar space and, according to airport manager Dennis O’Connor, “that income has gone from zero in 2010 after opening new hangars to almost $11,000 through this June. With fuel sales, total income for the fiscal year just ended is over $43,000.”

O’Connor notes that’s just under half of the expenditures for the last fiscal year “marking the end of airport budgets that only had operating costs and no-to-low income.”

He notes occupancy in the new T- hangars has steadily increased through March of this year; a flight school maintains space for its office and classroom; and a new airport committee policy for existing main hangar aircraft use took effect in February. Lower losses have allowed budget plans to accommodate sufficient funds to meet the new costs of a planned fueling facility while reducing spending 12% for the new fiscal year that started July 1, he added.

Meanwhile, more private pilots than before are finding the Hardeman County Airport as a fuel stop, thanks to online sources, and the activity has helped the airport to double its sales by June of this year versus the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011. O’Connor reports the share of current fuel sales from transient traffic is approximately 38%, “and that factor has helped fuel sales since January of this year through June reach 80% of total sales for calendar year 2011.”

It’s a win-win situation, he noted. “We help those flying on longer trips by being a strategic location and they help us with larger sales so that more money from profit is returned to Hardeman County.”

O’Connor adds that, despite the economy, people with private airplanes still have reasons to fly, noting that recent transient flights have included ferrying airplanes to new owners, personal trips to and from the West coast and even air race participants returning home.

“While some visitors stay for a meal or stay the night, all of them find Hardeman County because the airport now has a strong internet presence and it’s being used aggressively,”  he said.

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