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Delta, airport officials to hash out details

Posted: January 9, 2014 - 1:09am

Juneau International Airport officials are set to meet with Delta Air Lines representatives at the end of the month to hash out the final contractual items before the airline resumes service to the capital city this summer.

There will be two flights coming and going each day, with the trips from Seattle arriving in the evenings around 8:10 p.m., and the departures happening around 6:30 a.m., airport manager Patricia deLaBruere told the Empire Wednesday.

“Delta’s coming to town,” she said at the Airport Board meeting, noting that media reports last month broke the news to some officials at the airport.

“There were some people who got the cart in front of the horse on this one,” she said.

Things like baggage area usage, landing fees and desk space inside the airport are the main things needing to be finalized when the two sides meet later this month.

The board also passed a motion to make the runway rehabilitation project a two-year project rather than trying to get everything finished before the peak summer season this year.

Originally, the airport was planning to repave the lone runway in the next couple of years, but a May 2013 inspection by the Federal Aviation Administration expedited that process.

“We did patchwork in 2012 and this summer, but we got direction from the FAA to repave it immediately,” deLaBruere said. “They said we can’t wait anymore.”

The short notice led to difficulties in securing funding for the project — and that translated to logistical challenges with taking the project to bid soon enough for work to be completed this summer, deLeBruere said.

The primary reason for stretching the repaving project over a two-year window is because of the uncertainty of when funding would be available, deLaBruere said.

She added that trying to work around the peak season and possible cost-savings on the project that is estimated to cost between $20 million and $22 million were also factors.

While the search for a permanent food and beverage contractor continues, there is work underway to add a section to the current interim contract.

That new provision entails opening a coffee shop in the departure lounge of the airport for passengers waiting for their flights to take off.

The plan is to get the operation going as soon as possible, deLaBruere said.

“We’re hoping to get that set up pretty darn quick,” she said.

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