Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - The Syracuse Common Council may decide to hand over running the airport to an authority on Monday, similar to what's in place at many airports including Buffalo and Rochester.
Most local leaders agree that after nearly 50 years of running Hancock International Airport, it’s time for the city to get out of the airport business.
About eight years ago, the Common Council began to explore the idea of creating an authority to run the airport.
Supporters say the authority would have the ability to try things and innovate where the city can't or hasn't - plus save money - which has already been proven just with a change in security.
"So when the airport commissioner is talking to a low cost carrier, like Allegiant Air and they want to know what their operating cost will be she's got a much better offering to make to them," explained Bill Fisher, the Deputy Onondaga County Executive with the Syracuse Airport Authority Board Chair.
Fisher says the authority could also find newer ways to generate money for the airport.
He says the structure will better manage the airport for everyone it serves - not just the city of Syracuse - and ultimately increase service and lower airfares.
The transfer seemed all but ready for a vote on Monday by the Common Council until the brakes were pumped on Wednesday.
"I was a little taken aback that there hasn't been more substantive meetings between the Airport Authority and our bargaining units out there and you could see there was a lot of confusion in the meeting," said Pat Hogan, Syracuse Common Councilor.
City workers are saying they want to know what happens to them after the transfer in regards to things such as benefits and retirement funds, questions they say haven't been answered.
"There are just too many questions at this juncture to ask the Common Council to vote on this transfer," said Kerry Lightcap, who represents three Syracuse Airport unions.
“The mayor made it very clear to me in a face to face meeting that she would never consent to the transfer without these things being guaranteed for her employees. She doesn't want them to become our employees unless all those benefits are transferred over," Fisher said.
Fisher says there would be no layoffs, especially since says more workers are needed at the growing airport.
Hogan has called another committee meeting on the subject for Monday morning.
The full Common Council has its regular voting meeting that afternoon.