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MC airport still with no service, buys security cameras, marketing campaign and “high speed runway broom”

This news story was published on March 11, 2014.
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Mason City Airport

Mason City Airport

MASON CITY – The Mason City airport is still without air service and passenger numbers have plummeted, but that hasn’t stopped airport officials from spending lavishly.

Great Lakes Airlines suspended service from Mason City on January 31st, and officials have sought a carrier ever since. The United States Department of Transportation published on January 31st a Request for Proposals for Airline Service for Mason City. Those proposals were due February 21st.

At the March 10 Airport Commission meeting, proposals were to be considered, but the matter was postponed by the board until the next meeting as negotiations are proceeding.

No passengers are boarding planes at the Mason City Airport, but the dollars are flowing out as if business never slowed.

In January, the airport reported revenue was down due to decreased passenger numbers, despite an aggressive ad campaign that cost nearly $28,000 since December 2013.  Part of the ad campaign featured TV commercials with commission Brett Schoneman and North Iowa Corridor “CEO” Brent Willett.  Also recently approved by the Airport Commission was a project for the installation of nearly $17,000 worth of security cameras at the airport.  The airport is also considering a new sign at the front entrance to the airport, to cost an undetermined amount.

Despite plummeting passenger numbers, the airport recently reported that it had purchased and put into service a “high speed runway plow / broom” that cost $413,054 which was paid for by a federal grant.

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12 Responses to MC airport still with no service, buys security cameras, marketing campaign and “high speed runway broom”

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 12, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Miles and miles of fence was erected following 911. Its the most secure cow pasture in the mid west. All on our dime due to a poor risk assessment of the need and tons of homeland “security” money.

  2. Mediator Reply Report comment

    March 12, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    One thing to keep in mind is that the Mason City Municipal airport is also an emergency landing site. Our government is, rightly, invested in safety and even if we don’t have a major carrier at this time, having an airport capable of landing a jet in trouble is valuable.

    Plus, having a quality airport might well be a factor in bringing businesses here. For all we know, it’s the reason Clear Lake just “landed” their big project. We might see private air service pick up to fly air…

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      March 12, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      @Mediator-Back in the day I used to fly in and out of our airport at least five times a month. It was very convenient and cost effective when you considered travel time and parking fees. It is has been years since I flew out of there and am told it is no longer cost effective and I know business won’t use it if it is not reliable.

      • Mediator Reply Report comment

        March 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm

        I actually meant that the companies would own their own planes. Either for business travel or for air freight. The freight part got snipped.

        • LVS Reply Report comment

          March 12, 2014 at 6:59 pm

          @Mediator-owning your own planes can get pretty expensive. By the time you pay for the plane, pilot and other required things it is real pricey. Most company’s won’t want to spend the money. However, a lot of them have corporate planes that could fly in to take them where needed.

    • Observer Reply Report comment

      March 12, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      The largest bird that Mason City can accommodate is a light 757 type. Anything larger and you run out of runway kinda fast. Super heavies or B-52’s need not apply.

      I am guessing the same limitations that apply to Midway in Chicago would apply to Mason City. Well, except with Midway, if you come in too low, you hit the White Castle sign at 63rd and Cicero. Not many obstructions here.

  3. sad but true Reply Report comment

    March 12, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    The airport survives almost entirly because of governmnet grants & subsidies. Being it is just another government entity, if you give them money, they are going to spend it. It is never a question of need with government, we buy half million dollar plows for a airport with no plains, we build bigger and bigger and more schools in cities with rapidly declining enrollments.
    Untill the taxpayer learns to say no, we are going to dig deeper and deeper into debt!!!

  4. USMCSSG Reply Report comment

    March 12, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Spend a few hundred $$$$ and get your hair done Pam

  5. Observer Reply Report comment

    March 12, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Replacing EAS carriers takes time. It requires opening for bids, and allowing carriers time to submit competitive them. Then the Commission evaluates, and sends their preference to FAA.

    Monday, Air Choice One made a test flight to Mason City from St. Louis (two hour flight in an Piper Navajo). One can assume that is part of their evaluation process.

    The jets that reside in Mason City probably cannot use a grass strip. The broom is far better than plow, in clearing a runway.

  6. Rummy Reply Report comment

    March 11, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    High powered brush sweeper for a runway with hardly any flights. Way to go commission. Glad to hear there are now cameras to watch us out there. Is Bumbleberry bakery going to stay out there or pack it in?

  7. LVS Reply Report comment

    March 11, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Matt-Is this stuff being bought with tax money or Federal Grant money? I know there are private planes flying in and out of the airport but this is a lot of money for that as all the small airports with privates flying have grass runways. Seems like a big waste of our money if it is taxpayer funded. Reminds me of statues and the old whore house.

  8. USMCSSG Reply Report comment

    March 11, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    makes logical since to me!! Right! I must be stupid is as stupid does.