LAWRENCEVILLE -- Airport success has more to do with location than privatization, many airport managers said, according to a report presented to the county's airport privatization study committee.
Three committee members -- two of whom have actively campaigned against a passenger service proposal for Briscoe Field -- interviewed managers from across the nation at airports similar to Gwinnett's.
Jim Regan, who has lead Citizens for a Better Gwinnett, said the officials he interviewed said privatization was good for "union busting," allowing a private company to pay employees less and ask them to do multiple tasks.
Many locations are at a "break even" point in revenues and costs.
Mary Jane Polizzano, who interviewed officials with experience in Texas, Louisiana and Nevada, said airportmanagers were skeptical about a successful privatization of Briscoe Field, largely because of the airport's small acreage and runway.
Gaye McNeill, a commercialization opponent, gathered some lessons from three airports in New York, one of which withdrew its privatization proposal, one that was rejected because of problems with the contractor and another where privatization began but was turned back over to the Port Authority when the company, a British bus company, pulled out.
Based on those experiences, McNeill said any potential private partner should be heavily vetted and officials should watch for a proposal that includes multipliers for revenues such as hotel revenue that is not guaranteed.
At its next meeting Dec. 13, the study group is scheduled to hear reports on Briscoe Field's current conditions and interviews with companies who submitted qualifications to take over the county's airport.
At a Dec. 20 session, an aviation noise expert is expected to testify.