The Salt Lake City Airport Authority board has approved reducing the rent by $8,880 for each general aviation service operation at the executive terminal east of the international airport and Airport II near West Jordan.

Airports director Louis Miller said a downturn in the general aviation industry and recently rising fuel costs have financially hurt operations that service private aircraft. Board member Elaine Weis indicated some operators haven't able to pay their rent.The reduced rent will last for two years, after which rent operators pay for the land on which their facilities stand will resume its present rate adjusted for inflation.

"When it gets to the point where it's questionable that you are even profitable, anything is welcome," said Larry Carwin, president of the Salt Lake Jet Center at Salt Lake International's Executive Terminal.

The expense of owning and operating a private airplane has caused a decline in business for "fixed base operators" like the Jet Center. Carwin said the increase in fuel the past two months has added to economic problems facing the industry nationwide.

While the reduction is welcome, it's not likely it will be passed on to aviators. "The federal gasoline tax will go up 3.5 cents. It will still be tight," Carwin said.