The director of the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport in Jackson County, Ore., has decided that the proposal to sell advertising space on the airport control tower is a bit too controversial right now, so he’s dropping the plan.
“There were some in the community that didn’t think it was a good idea,” airport director Bern Case told msnbc.com. “I could see the writing on the wall, so this morning we withdrew our application.”
The airport had been seeking a change in the city code so that a 675-square-foot sign could be placed on each side of the airport control tower. Negotiations were underway with an aviation company that would have paid $3,000 a month for tower ad space, or $360,000 over the course of a 10-year lease.
The Medford City Council had approved the idea on Nov. 17, citing the economic benefits of additional advertising income for the airport, but local and national controversy about the decision caused some councilmembers to reconsider.
“For crying out loud,” said Mike Boyd, an aviation consultant with Boyd Group International. “A control tower isn’t exactly a work of art not to be messed with. I think an ad for Pepsi or Levis, or even an air sickness potion, would be a great way of getting another revenue stream.”
If the project had gone through, the Medford airport would have been the first to have advertising on the control tower. “We were leading the way a little bit,” said Case. “But we all have political bodies to deal with, and it was their call. We’ll be fine.”
While tower ads are tabled for now in Medford, don’t be surprised if the idea pops up somewhere else.
“Non-aeronautical revenue generation is a never-ending effort for airports,” said Sean Broderick, spokesperson for the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). “If an airport can generate revenue from something that doesn’t cost it much to provide, that’s a win-win for everyone.”
This story first appeared on msnbc.com Travel’s Overhead Bin.