Sun, June 16, 2024

Key Airport leader gets $11,000 raise; part of 2024 preps

Commissioners voted to stay the course for airport leadership into 2024. They approved a 5% pay raise for Judon, who currently earns just under $220,000 a year. It will begin in January, which is the start of his new contract.

Members of the Augusta Aviation Commission held their final meeting of 2023 on Tuesday and laid the groundwork for the coming year.

Commissioner, Randy Sasser had been tasked with surveying the board for recommendations to serve as chairman and vice chairman in 2024. The recommendation to have current Chairman, Dan Troutman and Vice Chairwoman, Ronic West continue to serve in those positions next year was approved unanimously.

“I just wanted to say, obviously, it was unanimous and excited for next year,” said Commissioner, Davis Beman, adding, “I want to commend Mr. Sasser for the work he’s done. His process was very open and structured, and I think we ought to set a precedence that we use that structure going forward so it is very transparent.”

Sasser and Commissioner, Larry Harris, who is newly appointed to the commission, recommended staff arrange a commission workshop.

“I spoke with a couple of commissioners and we just kind of discussed that we may need to have a workshop, sometime in the first part of the year,” Harris offered. “Maybe handled by legal just to brief new commissioners and some of the older commissioners as to what their responsibilities are as a commissioner, so that they will know the bylaws and stuff like that.”

Commissioner, Don Clark supported the idea of the workshop to cover all operations at the airport.

“There are a lot of construction projects going on, and sometimes, I lose track of what else is going on,” he said. “For instance, marketing. We forget how much marketing dollars are there. We can go ahead and try to set a budget. That way, we’re looking towards the future, really set a framework for what that committee wants to accomplish.”

Airport Executive Director, Herbert Judon, Jr. said they have been looking at some dates for a workshop, possibly in mid-to-late February. He first wants to speak with their air service consultant and find what dates he is available to participate.

“I would love to spend some time and talk about airline service and some of the work in the current environment,” he said. “The challenges and the opportunities and how we can try to crack that nut even better in terms of airline service, getting more flights and more airlines, etc. I’d love for him to come down and kind of help lead that.”

Elizabeth Giles, the airport’s senior construction project manager updated commissioners on projects currently underway, including enclosing the east end of the terminal around gates 3 and 4.

“As of now, the front porch area that’s going to be closed in has been demoed,” she explained. “We have a temporary wall that has now been erected. All the preliminary work such as electrical is being run conduit in the ceilings, and concrete is being poured for footers outside, so very exciting. We’re moving along a little bit ahead of schedule and very pleased with it.”

The work will add approximately 2,000 square feet and will require two new passenger boarding bridges that connect directly to the airplane door rather than have passengers walk out to board back in the days when the airport was serviced by propeller aircraft.

The boarding bridges have already been ordered and are expected to arrive in February.

Although the project won’t be complete by Masters Week, Giles said the goal is to have the new gates functional by then.

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