Airfield costs increase

Improvements made to facilities at the Omarama Airfield have increased costs faced by Omarama Airfield Ltd, a company jointly owned by the Waitaki District Council and Omarama Soaring Centre.

Most of the company's income comes from gliding, and for the first six months of this financial year the company reported an operating surplus of $22,835, compared with a budgeted surplus of $20,175.

Landing fees and turnover were affected by the recession and timing, company chairman Hugh Cameron said in a report to the district council.

Much of the income for the year came from summer gliding camps and the national gliding championships, both of which fell in the second half of the financial year.

However, Mr Cameron said improvements at the airfield had led to the company paying more in rates to the council.

Improvements included expanding the terminal to accommodate the combined operation of Glide Omarama and Southern Soaring.

While expenditure was 13% below budget, council rates had increased by almost 40%, from a budgeted $6850 to $9437.

Some of those rates were collected from tenants at the airfield and rents had risen to reflect significant cost increases faced by the company, he said.

Mr Cameron predicted the company should finish with a "reasonable year" and an operating surplus which could be used to pay for capital improvements to plant and machinery over the next few years.

One issue concerning the company was the delay in extending the runway, a project which has been planned for five years.

Additional land has been bought for the extension, but there are delays because of the subdivision has to be completed and a land title issued.


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