Lift - Fall 2012 - (Page 10)

Members of the Branson Airport ground crew do the ‘Branson Wave,’ a tradition in which they wave goodbye to departing passengers MOVING MOUNTAINS Jeff Bourk (’95, DB) leads groundbreaking commercial airport estled in the Ozark Mountains in southwest Missouri, Branson holds the title of Live Entertainment Capital of the World. It’s known for its variety of music and theater shows, local attractions and outdoor recreation—all set in a family-oriented atmosphere. The vacation destination attracts an estimated 8 million visitors annually. Since 2009, Branson has also become known for its privately developed and operated commercial airport—the rst of its kind to be established in the United States. “In just three years of operations, we have built the airport into the 200th largest commercial service airport in the country,” says Jeff Bourk (’95, DB), executive director of Branson Airport (BKG). With 150 employees and growing, the airport boasts a 7,140-foot runway, a 58,000-square-foot terminal with four gates and a décor that showcases the rustic charm of the Ozarks. Bourk has been a driving force behind the airport’s construction and operation. The project was fully funded in 2007 through the sale of approximately $113 million in BY SARA WITHROW municipal bonds and $45 million in equity. Securing funds was only the beginning. According to Bourk, the construction project was the state’s largest earth-moving venture to date. Despite a variety of obstacles, the airport went from groundbreaking to operational in only 22 months. While privately developed and operated, the airport and the land it sits on were gifted by Branson Airport LLC (BALLC) to Taney County to enable the issuance of taxexempt bonds. A long-term lease agreement gives BALLC the right to operate the for-pro t business for a term of approximately 50 years. Additional revenue streams that BALLC receives include a pay-for-performance agreement with the city, which provides $8.24 for every visitor who ies into the airport; FlyBranson Travel (a full-service travel agency); Branson AirExpress (a scheduled public charter); and Branson JetCenter (a xed-based operator); as well as other typical airport revenues. Because of its private model, the airport does not take federal grants. This allows BKG of cials to negotiate unique contracts with stakeholders, including initial 10 LIFT FALL 2012 WWW.ERAUALUMNI.ORG Photos courtesy of Branson Airport http://WWW.ERAUALUMNI.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Lift - Fall 2012

Lift - Fall 2012
Letter from the President
Wings of Legacy
Flight Path
Moving Mountains
Carving New Ventures
What Presence!
Releasing the Dragon
Giving to Embry-Riddle
Alumni in Action
Alumni News
Class Notes

Lift - Fall 2012