Atlantic Aviation makes a grand statement to staff |

Atlantic Aviation makes a grand statement to staff

Employees receive $1,000 monthly housing allowance

Jonathan Jones at Atlantic Aviation in Aspen on Friday, March 4, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

When a local employer doesn’t have housing for its employees and its employees are struggling to pay rent or their mortgage, something has to give.

In the case of the Atlantic Aviation fixed-base operation at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, it turned out to be giving a monthly $1,000 housing allowance to all of its full-time employees.

As real estate values keep climbing in the Roaring Fork Valley, acquiring property to house workers wasn’t a feasible option, but putting extra money in their pockets was a benefit they could immediately reap, said Jonathan Jones, who is the senior general manager of the Atlantic Aviation operation in Aspen.

“The housing issue had been kicked around with how do we support our staff with this situation the valley is facing,” he said. “And by far, the fastest way and one of the easier ways is to enact this housing allowance or stipend.”

As the most expensive place to rent housing in the Roaring Fork Valley, Aspen’s average rent for a studio apartment was $3,750 over the past month, while the average rent for a one-bedroom commanded $8,000 and a two-bedroom went for $17,500, according to Zumper.

Aspen’s median rental price was $8,000, compared to $4,500 in Basalt, $2,600 in Carbondale, and $1,163 in Glenwood Springs, according to Zumper.

The extra grand Atlantic Aviation employees receive monthly is after taxes, and while the money is designated as a housing stipend, it can be used for any expense, Jones said.

Prior to December, Atlantic Aviation employees in Aspen received a $500 housing benefit per month, but that amount wasn’t enough to maintain a stable payroll.

“One of the biggest things we’ve seen in the last two years is rent going up,” Jones said. “I’ve heard stories about rent being $1,600 and now it’s $2,600.”

The living allowances “help people stay where they are instead of moving away,” Jones said, “and it can help as a down payment on a house or for somebody who qualifies for employee housing.”

The extra money also helps lift staff morale, he said.

“I think it goes back to the simple principle that we’re for them (the employees) and not against them,” he said. “You look at ways to better their lives and when they see that, it secures the culture that you want and it secures the belief that what we’re working for it not just about the bottom line.”

Atlantic Aviation employees staffs anywhere from 45 to 60 full-time workers. The housing allowances are given across the board, no matter how long the workers have been with the company or their job description, Jones said.

Atlantic Aviation came to Aspen in 2007. There are currently about 100 Atlantic Aviation fixed-based operators in the U.S.

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