Airport receives $11.5 million grant
By By Thomas Tingle
Record Managing Editor
Approximately $7 million of an $11.5 million grant received at Huntsville International Airport from the Department of Transportation will go towards a 4,600-foot extension of the west runway – a project that is on schedule and will be completed in Dec. 2003.
Upon its completion, the length of the west runway will be 12,600 feet. The extension will allow the airport to further expand its International Air Cargo operations in Alabama. As cargo operations continues to increase at the airport, the Federal Aviation Administration has allocated $1.7 million towards the design, environmental assessment and the site of a new 300-foot control tower to replace the 35-year-old tower that was built when the airport opened in 1967.
To date, the Airport Authority has received $22 million of the $31 million budgeted to extend the west runway. According to Cindy Maloney, media spokesperson for Huntsville International Airport, the $7 million will be used for paving and lighting in Phase 1 of the runway extension project. Construction of the runway extension began last July and scheduled for completion in Dec. 2003. The Airport Authority has matched a portion of the grants received by 10 percent.
The rest of the $11.5 million grant will be used to procure an Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting vehicle and for security enhancements. Other projects include an expansion and renovation of the terminal and baggage claim area, widening the taxiway at the FBO and Regional Jetbridge Luggage Lift.
To better accommodate the volume of air passenger travel and air cargo travel coming in and out of the airport, the FAA has announced it will build a new 300-foot control tower. Maloney said the new tower will be three-times taller than the existing control tower and will bring the airport more in-line with its master plan.
Maloney said a 25-year vision at Huntsville International Airport calls for three additional runways to the west of the existing two runways.