City Council Meeting: June 14, 2011
Agenda Item: 3-X
To: Mayor and City Council
From: Robert Trimborn, Airport Director
Subject: Contract with Vector Airport Solutions to Operate the Airport’s Landing Fee Program
Vector Airport Solutions is recommended to operate the Airport’s Landing Fee Program to include capture of aircraft operations, data management and reports, and billing and collection. The annual cost for this service is based on 21% Net Receipts with an annual cap of $100,000 each year. The system will enhance the capture of aircraft activity and result in operational efficiencies.
The current Landing Fee program methodology was established by a settlement with the Federal Aviation Administration in 2005 and requires every non-based aircraft to pay a fee of $2.07 per 1,000 pounds of maximum certificated gross landing weight.
Currently; the Airport utilizes a proprietary internet application to facilitate the processing of landing fees via a platform used by staff to process aircraft arrivals, enter payments, billing and manage account data. This process is difficult to maintain, audit, and places an undue burden upon Airport staff.
Capturing aircraft arrivals currently requires the use of several resources, including staff to visually track and log-in aircraft arrivals and verify tabulate and process all landings through flight track data and FAA tower recordings.
Once the landings are verified and the accounts established, staff instructs the vendor to commence the billing cycle. The bills are then sent from the vendor to the users who then remit payment to the Airport Office whereupon staff processes the accounts receivables.
The tasks of capture, tabulation, verification, billing and account receivables became extremely time consuming and have resulted in the need to periodically reassign staff from their normal duties in order to adequately maintain the program. Over the last two years, staff has been exploring possible alternatives to the current program that offer more comprehensive approach and take advantage of contemporary technology to improve efficiency, effectiveness, customer service and significantly expand the Noise Management and Security programs database.
On March 24, 2011, staff prepared Request for Proposal (RFP) for Operating the Airport’s Landing Fee Program and advertised it nationwide. Four potential service providers responded. After careful review and analysis, Airport, Finance and City Attorney’s Office staff identified Vector Airport Solutions as the most responsible bidder. Vector Airport Solutions was the only service provider that met all the City’s criteria of aircraft tracking, verification, billing, customer service, collection, and reporting. One other submittal met the criteria of the RFP, but the price was significantly higher than Vector Airport Solutions. The other two submittals did not meet all the requirements of the RFP.
Vector Airport Solutions is based in Virginia and has been in business since 2005. Their proprietary product has been deployed in five airports nationwide with additional airports scheduled to go online in 2011. Vector’s FlightRev program comprehensively addresses all aspects of a landing fee program. The system manages revenue generation by automating each of the major functions required to derive revenue from aircraft operations: Aircraft tracking; verification; billing; customer service; collection; and reporting. This will result in capturing more aircraft, generating more landing fees, an expansion of the operational database, staff efficiency, and improved customer service.
Vector’s Aircraft Tracking/Capture/ID system has been proven to identify more aircraft than a radar-based system similar to the one currently being used at Santa Monica Airport. The system to be deployed at the Airport by Vector will automatically detect and identify 100% of fixed wing aircraft associated with the landing fee program and store the data including aircraft pictures. All data regarding these aircraft operations will be available to airport staff through Vector’s web based portal. This system uses three overlapping, integrated technologies to capture aircraft 24/7 under both Visual Flight Rules and Instrument Flight Rules. The system includes: solar-powered air traffic Imaging Systems (cameras); SCOUT Transponder Receiver (a second layer to identify aircraft in the air); and flight plan data (data received FAA radar data). Vector’s proposal incorporates providing all necessary equipment including maintenance of on-site camera system, servers and transponders.
Financial Impacts & Budget Actions
The contract amount to be awarded to Vector Airport Solutions would be 21% of net receipts payable monthly with an annual cap on charges of $100,000 each year. The percentage approach insures that the associated costs will be proportional to the revenues generated by the program. It would insure that fluctuations of the market, those that aviation is subject to, do not obligate the City to extensive fixed costs. The proposal also provides assurances to the City of no capital or maintenance costs.
Funds are included in the FY2010-11 budget at account 33631.544390. Budget authority for future years will be included in the respective proposed budgets for Council’s review and adoption.