A permanent customs presence is seen as a value-added service for the aircraft maintenance and overhaul facilities whose customers sometimes send planes to Griffiss from foreign starting points.
Additionally, it is hoped that having a customs facility will help attract more international flights, boosting fuel sales. More than a million gallons were sold last year. The county is paid 8 cents for every gallon of aircraft fuel sold by ground services provider Million Air.
Boosting fuel sales? Is that Oneida County's objective? The County would be much better off operating a 7-11.
Attracting international flights? Do people fly in from other countries just to meet with a customs agent, or because they have business locally? Just how much international business is there locally?
“Our hope is that if you take a longer view, it will more than pay for itself,” Majority Leader George Joseph said. “It takes a while for the word to spread. It’s just another tool in our toolbox we can offer as we promote the airport.”That's an Expensive Tool!
The county Board of Legislators’ Democratic Minority Leader Frank Tallarino said he never supported the installation of a Customs facility, and it’s no surprise business there hasn’t been more brisk. “At this point in time we did not need that expense,” he said. “We need a carrier first.”
Tallarino said until airport fees levied by Million Air, the company that operates the terminal, are lowered, the carriers will keep away.Mr. Tallarino raises an important point. Back to the Sentinel article . . .
Here’s a look at the number of takeoffs and landings between January and April over the last five years: 2015: 6,356; 2014: 7,964; 2013: 11,269; 2012: 18,570; and 2011, 17,120.
Are Board Members letting their party politics or personal animosities get in the way of listening to each other and getting answers to logical questions?
The Customs agent was the subject of a posting here back in 2012 when we were told that a customs agent would help "a lot" and we asked the question "How much is 'a lot?' "
One suspects that we'll build another Taj Mahal facility that will be mostly empty -- and have Customs Agent "Tatoo" sitting around most of the time waiting for "the plane, the plane."Fantasies sometimes do come true!