Yakima creates new airport department to pull in money & airlines

YAKIMA, Wash. -- City council voted unanimously Tuesday night to create a new airport department to operate the Yakima Air Terminal.

The city recently assumed entire control of the airport from Yakima County. Now, the city wants to attract new airlines to the area and make a profit of airport.

The city assumed about seven employees as part of the deal, adding about $500,000 to its payroll. That money is an enterprise fund and will not come out of the general fund.

Council member Kathy Coffee said she thinks the city will ultimately make money from the deal.

"The management model that was in existence was set up for failure because it had two entities to manage it," Coffee said. "There is now a clear line of management authority."

Coffee said the airport board will be set up similar to the Convention Center board. In the coming weeks the city will establish an advisory board to weigh in on airport issues, however council will have the final say.

The city expects to have quarterly airport board meetings.