Montgomery Regional Airport To Expand Runways, Releases Plan to Public

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By Heather VacLav

The Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM) is releasing its long term master plans to the public. Wednesday, the airport's consultant group, Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, showcased a year's worth of planning which would support economic development in the River Region.

"We think that the airport runway is the most important main street in town," said Al Allenback, Vice President of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood. "You can build a mile of road and you've got a mile of road, but if you build a mile of runway, you've got a highway to the world, and that's what we have here in Montgomery."

The master plan, last updated eight years ago, offers three alternatives for development. The plans will cost anywhere between $82 million and $93 million to develop over the next 20 to 30 years. The Montgomery Regioal Airport Authority is expected to decide which route the airport will take in 90 days.

Each plan differs, but the primary focuses remain the same throughout. The biggest additions include adding a runway, extending and adding taxiways and building more hangers for corporate and personal aircrafts.

“So many business travelers fly through here, so many military personnel fly through here,” said Phil Perry, Executive Director at the Montgomery Regional Airport. “We are always trying to make sure the airport meets the needs of the public flying through.”

The plans were displayed in the first floor conference room of the airport, and some members of the public walked through and shared their opinions with consultants.

“I remember when they added onto this place, I couldn't believe it,” said Dick Short, a Montgomery man who has lived in the River Region for nearly two decades. “This building, it was such a rinky-dink place before, you know?”

In November 2006, MGM officially debuted it’s the airport expansion and renovated rotunda. The airport believes the runway expansion will complete the plan by further boosting the area’s economy.

“You may see some additional airliners, you may see some additional businesses come to the airport, all of those things which of course are good for the city,” Perry said.

Currently, MGM houses airliners Delta, US Airways, American Eagle and Flight Aware. Adding on a new runway, and expanding current runways, would open up the potential for more carriers to serve the River Region.

“I like it, I'm impressed with it, and it’s the wave of the future and I'm glad to see it growing that way,” Short said with a smile.

Montgomery's Regional Airport says funding for the master plan will spaced out over the next 20 to 30 years, combining resources from both the FAA and airport passenger fees.

Since the expansion affects the River Region, the airport is asking everyone at home for their thoughts and input.

Montgomery Regional Airport:

Questions and comments may be expressed in a written statement within 10 days of the meeting (April 28, 2012) to ensure maximum consideration is given to comments.

Please mail or email comments to Chaz Smith, Goodwyn, Mills & Caewood, 2660 Eastchase Lane, Suite 200 Montgomery, AL 36117; chaz.smith@gmcnetwork.com

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