Dear pilots, tenants, and airport visitors—
On behalf of the board and staff at Centennial Airport, I trust that this message finds you well, staying healthy and active as much as the current pandemic allows. I don’t know about you, but while they have slowed down the spread in Colorado, I am getting tired of Zoom™ meetings, masks, and social distancing, irrespective of whether they are politely requested or forcibly mandated. Given all that, they are small inconveniences compared to what my parents endured during WWII. They were holed up for five long years in Amsterdam, Holland, while the Germans regularly bombed the city. No heat and sporadic electricity from a jerry-rigged system; no TV or internet and barely any food. They lived just a few blocks from Anne Frank, and it was not uncommon to see people forcibly removed from their homes, never to be seen again. They only had a crackly old radio and fervently listened to Voice of America, hoping Americans—the Greatest Generation, would someday liberate them, and they did! I am forever grateful to those servicemembers, but never did I think I would need to reflect on my parents’ experience to realize how lucky we are by comparison; so, hang in there, this too will pass!
The airport is doing well under the circumstances. Centennial Airport is now one of the busiest airports in the US; busier than even Denver International Airport and in the top 10 of all US airports. Overall operational numbers are still down 9.5% year-over-year, with this past April being the worst when flight activity was down 70%. Flight schools are doing well, but we ask what the impact of layoffs at the airlines will have on flight training come October 1, unless there is another round of stimulus money. Business travel still lags at about 90% of normal but picking up slowly, as are international arrivals.
We are in the process of preparing our FY 2021 budget and APA only received the equivalent of one week’s operating capital from the CARES Act, so no help there. We are more concerned about all the employees and businesses that are struggling to make ends meet until we beat this thing. We will survive with some belt-tightening and deferral of non-safety projects in the mix.
On a more positive note, I am pleased to say that our new aviation community and administrative building is nearing completion with delivery scheduled for October 27th. Mark your calendars for a ribbon cutting on November 12th and an Open House on Friday, November 13th. We will have a scheduling App so we can keep everyone safe and socially distanced while still accommodating as many visitors as possible. This new facility was made possible by you the tenants and pilots at Centennial Airport. It will be called “the hangar” where we can all “hang out,” so to speak, especially when we can, once again, all breathe the same air.
Blue skies. Fly safe!