City considers private security for Hancock Airport

City considers private security for Hancock Airport

Updated: 2/25 6:13 pm

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – While Syracuse’s Hancock airport has traditionally been known for higher ticket prices than other upstate cities, the city is considering hiring private security to save money and reduce ticket prices.

A trip to Orlando on JetBlue costs $134 from Syracuse, while a flight from Buffalo to the same destination costs $119, or $89 from Rochester. Part of that difference is related to what each airport pays for supplemental security.

During her budget proposal, Mayor Stephanie Miner recommended bringing in private security to do the work currently handled by the city’s Police Department at the airport. $3 million of the $10 million spent on police overtime each year goes to the airport detail.

Currently, the city has received bids from eight different security firms who would like to take over the work. Because the private firms would be cheaper than the city police, acting airport commissioner Chris Reale says the savings can be passed on to airlines and eventually to passengers. “We need to make this airport competitive and business friendly,” she said. “One way to do that is to reduce the cost that the airlines pay to operate out of this facility and anyway that we can reduce our expenses we’re going to do that.”

The security contractor would have to take over checking security doors, patrolling the airport perimeter and patrolling the curbs. All those duties are currently preformed by city officers.

Reale says she is hopeful that cutting the fee charged to airlines would lead to a reduction in ticket prices. “I believe it would get a dialogue started and would help us when we’re talking to carriers about adding service or bringing in service, if we can show them that we’re being proactive about keeping costs in check at this facility,” she said.

The city will spend the next few weeks reviewing bids, before bringing some candidates in for interviews.

Copyright 2011 Newport Television LLC

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