The Martha’s Vineyard Airport is running well in the black as the busiest months of the year come to a close.

At a meeting of the airport commission Thursday, board treasurer Richard Knabel reported a first quarter operating surplus of more than $2.1 million — about $1 million more than the airport had in late 2018.

“We are in a much better position this year than we were a year ago, and cash flow, if not wonderful, is at least fine at the beginning of the lean time of year,” said Mr. Knabel. He projected the airport will end 2019 with a surplus of $1.1 million.

Speaking to the Gazette by phone Friday, Mr. Knabel explained that expenses were down for the first quarter of the fiscal year compared with 2018. Last year the airport had capital expenses related to FAA-required studies and mitigation of land in an area of the business park the commission wants to develop for non-aviation uses.

Also last year the commission incurred a slew of unanticipated costs for cleaning up PFAS, a chemical found in firefighting foam that turned up monitoring wells and drinking water south of the airport. Plus there were higher legal bills from litigation with the owners of the former Airport Mobil station, who shut down and dismantled the gas station after their lease was not renewed.

That litigation remains ongoing.

At the meeting Thursday, airport manager Cindi Martin told commissioners air traffic is also up.

“October was up eleven and a half per cent over last year in terms of aircraft operations,” she said, adding: “We’ve had four strong months despite two northeasters back to back.”

In other business, with their leases expiring at the end of the year, the two rental car companies that do business at the airport won initial approval from the commission to renew operations under new three-year contracts to be signed next month.

Concessionaires Hertz, which operates three rent-a-car brands — Dollar, Hertz and Thrifty — from the same counter, and Vineyard Enterprises Inc., representing the Avis and Budget brands, submitted proposals that together will bring the airport a guaranteed minimum revenue of $18,813.65 a month, or $225,763.75 annually.

The two companies will each pay $31,999.50 rent for their terminal counter and office space and $3,120 for four “ready” and 20 “preferred” parking spaces.

Hertz is guaranteeing the airport an annual minimum revenue of $80,514.75 and Vineyard Enterprises, Inc. is guaranteeing $75,010.

These guarantees may be exceeded by the airport’s share of the rental agencies’ gross receipts, Mr. Knabel told commissioners.

The Hertz contract could also bring in an additional $10,600 for seasonal parking in airport Lot C, where in past summers a single rental vendor has taken up to 25 per cent of available spaces. This dollar estimate is based on $1.06 per square foot, according to a summary from the airport commission’s land use subcommittee.

“That was a good job Cindi did, recognizing the revenue opportunities,” subcommittee chairman Peter Wharton said.

As the high bidder, Hertz gets first choice of counter selection, after which the commissioners are expected to sign both contracts at their Dec. 12 meeting.