Guam airport continues to see drop in revenues

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A.B. Won Pat International Airport (file photo)

The Guam airport’s fiscal year 2021 revenues stood at only $43.77 million — a 44 percent decrease from before the pandemic, when the airport brought in nearly $80 million in revenues.

Guam International Airport Authority Deputy Executive Manager Ricky Hernandez, who testified during a legislative informational hearing on the airport held by Sen. Amanda Shelton, described this severe reduction in revenues as the lowest the GIAA has seen in more than a decade.

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In response, Hernandez said the airport has adjusted their expenses downward to sustain constant operations akin to a “mini-city” that is open 24 hours.

The GIAA management, led by GIAA Executive Manager John M. Quinata also reported that the airport was able to take advantage of $3 million in savings, and the restructuring and reduction of their debt service payments through authorized bond refunding to help address loss in revenues. GIAA’s debt service payments were reduced from $13.7 million to $6.9 million in FY2021 and secured lower payments for the years ahead.

After the comprehensive presentation by the airport officials, Senator Telo Taitague pointed out that the forecasted revenue shortfalls from the pandemic may impact GIAA’s bond repayment.

Hernandez answered that there had been a reduction in maintenance and operational expenses. Also, the recent airport bond refinancing has considerably lowered the debt service to the bonds. Hernandez further explained that the Governor has committed to providing funds to help bridge the shortfall gap when it becomes necessary.

Still concerned over the airport’s financial situation, Senator Taitague requested a financial estimate diagram similar to GIAA’s informational presentation at the virtual hearing.

She said the financial diagram should outline the airport’s cash estimates and expenditures for fiscal year 2022 to enable the legislature to know whether the airport’s finances are tracking accordingly.

For her part, legislative air transportation chair Sen. Shelton said she appreciated that GIAA was able to brief the Legislature on updates to its operations, revenue, and capital improvement projects.

“As the Chair on Air Transportation, I look forward to our continued collaboration and partnership with GIAA—to work together to ensure that the airport is equipped to continue providing necessary air travel services to our people and visitors,” said Senator Shelton. “I commend the GIAA for implementing necessary safety measures, forging ahead with expansion and modernization projects, working creatively to reprioritize operational needs in the face of decreased funding, and continuing to plan for the future,” she added.

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