The Durango-La Plata County Airport is seeking bids for the food-service contract at its terminal, but the current
restaurateur says to not expect any changes.
Every five years, the airport renews its contract with a food-service operator, currently Durango Deli.
Durango Deli has held the previous three food-service contracts, said Aviation Director Ron Dent.
We are not unhappy with our existing operator, but they will have to compete with anyone else who is interested.
That's just how it's done in the industry," he said.
Neil Johnson, the principal of Durango Deli, plans to bid on the new contract.
I plan on keeping the contract," Johnson said Monday. I don't see any problem, but I have to go through the
Johnson said he doesn't think there have been other bidders in the past.
In addition to operating the airport's restaurant, the new lease will require the operation of a coffee cart located
beyond the security checkpoint.
Current Transportation Security Administration rules prohibit passengers from carrying liquids through security
This restriction was not in place five years ago when the current food-service contract was signed; passengers were
able to purchase beverages at the restaurant and take them beyond security, Dent said.
TSA prohibitions against liquids have made it difficult for passengers desiring coffee or tea while waiting for
their flights," he said. The new coffee cart will be a welcome addition."
The airport had record numbers in 2009, with nearly 300,000 passengers passing through its terminal.
The elimination of food service on most airline flights has created an excellent market for pre-prepared carry-on
foods," Dent said. This provides an excellent opportunity for a small-business operator in a growth market."
Patrick Young is an intern at The Durango Herald.Herald Staff Writer Dale Rodebaugh contributed to this report.