National and Dulles International airports, trying to keep up with growing air traffic and make up for years of federal spending cuts, will get more staff, equipment and maintenance in the next year, according to the annual budget adopted by the new airport board yesterday.
The airports suffered "substantial deficiencies" in many areas during their last years under federal management, said James A. Wilding, chief executive of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which assumed control of the two facilities June 7.
A primary reason for the transfer from federal to local control was Congress' unwillingness to spend the money needed to maintain and improve the two airports as local air traffic boomed, particularly at Dulles.
The federally owned airports' profits almost doubled to $20.8 million in 1986, as did the number of flights at Dulles. But the money went to the U.S. Treasury, and the airports received their spending money through congressional appropriations.
Now the profits, which are expected to reach $30.7 million in fiscal 1988, will be plowed back into the airports in the form of additional mechanics, an improved noise monitoring system, resurfaced runways and other improvements, according to the budget for the authority's first fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
Revenue should grow to $93.1 million as more passengers spend money on food, magazines, rental cars, parking and other concessions, and as the airlines pay higher fees to use the airfields, terminals and other facilities. Revenue in fiscal 1986 was $64.8 million.
Profit and revenue estimates for fiscal 1987, which ends Sept. 30, were not available.
The growth in revenue and profits at the two airports will be almost consumed by the costs associated with the transfer and the board's decision to increase spending in several areas.
About $5.1 million will be left as cash flow after the authority spends about $26.43 million on repairs, equipment and other capital needs.
Included in the spending plan:
$500,000 for improving the airports' noise monitoring system, which is described in the budget as "old, rapidly becoming obsolete, difficult to maintain, and no longer reliable."
$29.9 million to employ a work force of 858, which includes 40 additional full-time jobs and six additional part-time jobs to make up for the "excessive" staff cuts of recent years.
$3.04 million to lease the airports from the federal government.
$550,000 for a financial adviser and bond counsel to help the authority prepare to issue bonds to finance construction of $700 million in new runways, terminals, parking, roads and other physical improvements at both airports in the next five to seven years.