PARACHUTE — A 10-year master plan for the Rifle Garfield County Airport was approved this week by the Garfield County commissioners calling for the facility to focus more on private jets that are forced to land in Rifle during winter snowstorms.
County staff will now forward the master plan to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval. The meeting occurred in Parachute; the commissioners hold regular meetings outside of Glenwood Springs quarterly.
The master plan is designed to ensure the airport grows in a logical manner.
While local, general aviation pilots face the loss of hangars in a couple of years, 98 percent of the money to operate the airport comes from diversion landings when resort-bound private jets cannot reach Aspen or Eagle airports.
“I’m grateful for this 18-month process, which confirms our direction for the next 10 years and promotes this premiere general aviation, business jet airport,” said airport executive director Brian Condie.
Through extensive analysis and input from the aviation community and county residents, the master plan includes airport development to meet future aviation-related demand.
The plan addresses the need for extending airport runways to accommodate larger aircraft. Other improvements include hangar upgrades and additions, increased fuel storage capacity, new deicing facilities and parking, among others.