While airlines are having well-publicized financial woes, many airports are doing quite well. One reason: travelers spend money when they’re stuck at the airport. Another: both general aviation and commercial airports figured out long ago that they need to diversify their income.
Leases for farming, hotels, and golf courses on airport-owned land are popular. But while doing research for an article on this topic, I discovered that some airports are far more creative.
Some airports earn money from auctioning off surplus equipment (snowplows, trucks, computers, etc.) and stuff left behind at the security checkpoints. Others are getting big bucks for the oil and gas and mineral rights on airport land. And then there are these two intriguing examples:
Since the mid-1950’s, the Sebring International Raceway has been operating on land owned by the Sebring Regional Airport in Florida. The racetrack is used year-round, for everything from automobile and tire testing to racing schools, corporate events, and the well-known Sebring endurance race.
And in Missouri, the new Branson Airport is set to open next spring. But it probably won’t be called that on opening day. The country’s first privately financed airport has put the naming rights for the entire airport up for sale.