Bob Hope Airport cut down expenses and beat revenue expectations in the last fiscal year, according to a report issued Monday that marked a turnaround in what had been a string of bad news.
The airport reduced operating costs by cutting $2.6 million in areas such as parking services, electricity and water bills. Meanwhile, conservative predictions on how much the airport would earn resulted in the topping revenue expectations by an estimated $1.3 million.
"We're quite happy," said Frank Quintero, president of the governing Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. "It appears that air travel is up compared to expectations, and we're still cutting back on expenses."
Airport spokesman Victor Gill said the positive numbers can be attributed as much to careful estimates as to robust air travel activity.
The airport saw a 6% decrease in passengers in the fiscal year ending June 30, from 4.82 million to 4.51 million, according to airport authority.
"It probably was a bad year, but we budgeted for a bad year," Gill said. "We were not overly optimistic about how much revenue was going to come in, and that led us to budget conservatively."
In the fiscal year that ended June 30, operating expenses fell almost 8% — from $34.4 million to $31.8 million, according to the authority's report.
Gill said the parking service savings benefitted from decreased hiring and training expenses for shuttle drivers. Increased automation of parking payment receipts also saved money and allowed the airport to process revenue more rapidly, Gill said.
He attributed part of the savings on water and electricity to more efficient lighting in the terminal and other facilities, as well as photo-activated sinks that cut down on water use.
One of the few categories where expenses exceeded expectations was legal affairs. The report attributed a $250,000 jump over what was budgeted to a dispute with Lockheed-Martin Corp. over the Environmental Protection Agency-mandated cleanup of toxins left in the soil decades ago.
Separately, several projects the airport had penciled into its capital budget did not get off the ground in 2009. A plan to install special barriers at the west end of the runway was deferred, as the Federal Aviation Administration has yet to appropriate the expected $4 million for the work, Gill said.
Years ago, after a Southwest Airlines flight overran the airstrip and came to a stop on Hollywood Way, the airport installed the hollow concrete barriers at the east end of the runway, Gill said.