We’re glad to see that as the city commission implements fees for parking at Manhattan Regional Airport, commissioners have capped the daily price at $5. They’ve also decided to wait until the parking expansion is complete to begin charging travelers.

Those two conditions are smart moves to help keep parking fees from adversely affecting travel volume out of the airport.

We’ve written about parking fees before in this space, and we’ve been a little hesitant. On the one hand, it seems prudent to pay for the $4.6 million parking expansion with a use fee of this type; that way it won’t affect our tax bills. But free parking is one of the ways that Manhattan’s airport is able to remain competitive with bigger airports nearby, such as Kansas City International. Even if plane tickets from Kansas City are cheaper, sometimes the travel costs and $7-a-day parking tips the balance in Manhattan’s favor.

We’ve got what seems like a healthy flight schedule right now: the airport has five daily flights — two to Chicago and three to Dallas — and has had to use bigger planes at times because of demand.

We’re proud of that, and we wouldn’t want anything to jeopardize it.

That said, we understand that for the airport to grow, it needs more parking. We’re hopeful that as long as city and airport officials move carefully, parking fees ultimately will be a good thing for Manhattan Regional.

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