SPLOST: What it Means for Russell Regional Airport
Published November 8, 2013 in Airport Improvements
The voters of Rome and Floyd County have recently passed a local SPLOST. In the SPLOST is a runway extension project for the airport which will add 1000’ to runway 1 & 19 and increase the total length to 7000’. The addition will be to the north.
I have been asked a lot of questions relating to the construction of this extension and I want to address some of those questions.
The airport does own all of the land that will be needed to extend the runway. Jones Mill Road will not be closed or relocated for this project. The project will create a 1000’ asphalt extension and a 1000’ grass safety area, which is required by the FAA. The Localizer antenna will have to be pushed back and the PAPI system will have to be relocated as well. A parallel taxiway system is included in this project.
Initially, the project will require an Environmental Assessment which may take up to a year to complete. During this time, the engineering work will be done and ready for the project to begin. This, however, will not happen right away. It will all depend on how the County ranks this project on the SPLOST list. There are many important projects that must get started immediately due to safety and other issues.
Russell Regional Airport has been working on obtaining money to extend the main runway for years. The vision that the airport has maintained for the future is to develop the airport for aviation related business and industry that may want to base their operations at the airport. Having added length would attract business to our airport for future economic development.
The added length will also allow aircraft to take on more fuel because they will be able to increase their take-off roll distance. This will bring in more fuel sales for the airport. I have had many pilots say that they wish they could “tanker” fuel to eliminate fuel stops, especially those aircraft going to the west coast.
In addition, safety will be enhanced with the added 1000’. The current length of 6000’ is plenty for most aircraft that come in now; however, it only takes one incident or accident, for the other aircraft that land at KRMG that have to be precise without any critical errors, to make a mistake due to the slim margin for error. As some of you know, we occasionally get DC-9’s and other larger type aircraft that would land safer with 7000’ than the current 6000’. Insurance plays a big role in the operation of an aircraft on an airport as well. Some aircraft can only land with certain runway lengths. This would open us up for more aircraft that will be able to utilize the airport and again…more fuel sales.
Russell Regional Airport is not looking to be another “Hartsfield-Jackson Airport;” however, we are looking to build the airport in a very smart way which will benefit the local community and the surrounding counties. The current runway has a weight limit which will not allow the airport to accept larger and “heavier” aircraft such as those that normally land at the Atlanta airport. Although we have looked at passenger service, it does not necessarily mean larger aircraft. The airports closer to Atlanta seem to be better suited for passenger service at this point in time. For this reason, I think our airport is prime for major economic development growth in the future now that we are able to attract business with a 7000’ runway.
To sum it all up, Russell Regional Airport will always be a community minded airport. We want to bring jobs to the area and we want to be smart about what comes to the airport. Russell Regional Airport and its staff want to thank our current tenants, customers and the community, as a whole, for their support. Future growth is not possible without you.
Thank you, Mike Mathews, Airport Manager