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Tompkins County considers hiring consulting firm to help steady airport’s finances

The Ithaca Tompkins International Airport.
Robert Henry
Tompkins County
The Ithaca Tompkins International Airport.

The Ithaca-Tompkins International Airport is still recovering from its decline in ridership during the pandemic. Officials have turned to a consulting firm to create a financial plan.

The Tompkins County Legislature will vote in November to approve hiring the Connecticut-based strategic business firm, QED Airport Aviation Consultants.

“After the pandemic, things have changed, everything's different,” expressed Roxan Noble, director of the Ithaca-Tompkins International Airport. “So just a business plan, a strategic plan, financial plan, looking at air service, looking at our current revenue streams, and looking at all other opportunities that may be available at the airport. It's just a general—what can we do moving forward? Give us a road plan.”

The firm is expected to oversee steps for the airport to become self-sustaining. It will cost the county $156,700 to hire QED.

Noble said she welcomes the firm to help with business strategy and financial planning.

“I don't think it's a bad thing to also have somebody come in and give a fresh perspective on different opportunities, different ideas,” she said. “And I applaud, and I'm thankful that the county legislature has been such a huge support to the airport and has agreed to working with this and they actually brought this forward last year.”

If the county legislature approves the measure, the company is expected to begin its year-long work with the airport in December.

Last month, the airport received a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to re-establish its flight routes to Washington D.C. The grant will be used for airline incentives and marketing initiatives to entice airlines and ridership between the nation’s capital and Ithaca.

Currently, there is no timeline for the return of the D.C. flights.