The Cedar Rapids Airport Commission on Monday approved a $3.3 million bid for five new passenger loading bridges at The Eastern Iowa Airport.
John Bean Technologies of Ogdan, Utah, was the winning bidder for the project. The company is one of two airport passenger loading bridge manufacturers in the United States.
Airport Director Tim Bradshaw said the joint purchase attracted seven bidders and resulted in a lower cost for the equipment.
"We thought the loading bridges would come in anywhere from $750,000 to $900,000 each," Bradshaw said. "It worked out to be about $650,000 each. The purchase will be funded with passenger facility charge revenue, so this will free up funds for other projects."
Bradshaw said the first new loading bridge will be installed in March and the second is scheduled for May. He said the remaining three loading bridges will be delivered and installed in fiscal 2015, which begins on July 1, 2014.
The existing loading bridges have been in service for 29 years. The commission was planning to purchase a new loading bridge and have the existing units refurbished in subsequent years, but that plan was scrapped when the commission learned the Federal Aviation Administration would not approve funding.
"The FAA will only approve paying for new loading bridges," said Airport Operations Director Sara Freese. "During the design process, we determined that simultaneous replacement of the five bridges was financially possible."
Freese said buying all the jet bridges from a single supplier will yield a number of benefits, including keeping less replacement parts and standardizing training for maintenance staff.
"In terms of energy efficiency, we will be switching from DC motors to AC motors and using preconditioned air from the terminal to heat and cool the aircraft cabins," she said. "That will save the airlines using their jet fuel to heat and cool planes at the gate."
The passenger facility charge is collected as part of the ticket price for air travel at the nation's airports.
Although owned by the city of Cedar Rapids, The Eastern Iowa Airport does not receive any city or county property tax revenue.The airport derives its revenue from airline revenues, passenger facilities charges, terminal concessions, ground and facility leases, landing fees, ramp fees and parking revenue.