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Airport is on growth path

Donna Gray

Garfield County Airport has come a long way from a base for puddle-jumpers.On Monday, airport manager Brian Condie outlined to the county commissioners the airport’s exponential growth in the past 20 years – and shared an ambitious master plan. by donna grayPost Independent StaffGarfield County Airport has come a long way from a base for puddle-jumpers.On Monday, airport manager Brian Condie outlined to the county commissioners the airport’s exponential growth in the past 20 years – and shared an ambitious master plan. In 1984, the airport was classed as basic utility, meaning only small planes could land there, and it offered only a minimum of services. Today, heavy planes, defined as weighing more than 12,500 pounds, can land and buy fuel. The picture is even clearer when measuring the size of the airport, and of its business, in gallons of aviation fuel sold. In 1984, it sold 73,957 gallons of AvGas, which is specified for small planes. While AvGas sales have remained the same over the last 20 years, Jet A fuel sales have increased geometrically from 39,541 gallons in 1984 to 1 million gallons in 2004, indicating the increase in jet traffic at the airport, Condie said.In addition, the number of tenants, both private and commercial, has doubled in the past 10 years.”We’ve also stepped up security, safety and emergency response,” he added.To keep step with that growth, and partly to fuel more, the airport’s master plan calls for realignment of the runways and larger ramps to accommodate more and larger aircraft.What has made the greatest impact on the number of planes using the airport is an instrument landing system that makes landing in inclement weather feasible and safe, Condie said.Airport improvement will be funded in part by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration, which also sets the specifications of the upgrades. Construction will be delayed since the FAA did not grant the airport funding for the ramps, Condie said.Construction on the new runway is expected to begin in 2006.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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