Thursday, August 16, 2012
Holly Springs-Marshall County airport gets new hangars
By SUE WATSON
A Mississippi Department of Transportation multi-modal grant, coupled with low interest loans bought by the Marshall County Industrial Development Authority, is being used to construct a new six-unit T-hangar at the Holly Springs-Marshall County Airport.
All current hangars are occupied. Once this T-hangar is open, some current leases of airport hangars may be moved over to the new one. The new hangars are attractive to pilots who own their planes because the new hangars will be insulated and protect the aircraft from condensation of moisture, according to airport manager Justin Hall. The new hangar building is about a $380,000 project through a multi-modal project with MDOT.
Hall said the airport competed with about 68 other facilities in the state, for the grant money. MDOT selects only about 12-14 projects of this type a year to fund. The multi-modal grants are available only to projects that will generate revenue for airports, he said. MDOT allots about $3 million a year out of its $10 million multi-modal budget for airport work. Other multi-modal projects include port authorities and rail.
“With the continual addition of hangars, we will eventually get to where the airport will be self-sufficient one day,” Hall said. “Our goal is to have a functional airport for general aviation and to attract corporate and business traffic. Multi-modal projects are a great way to help small airports generate income so they can be self-sustaining. As the airport generates more of its own revenue, the City of Holly Springs and Marshall County will have to set less money aside for the airport.”
The next big project on the planning board is to find money for lengthening the runway to 5,000 feet so corporate jet traffic can be served, as well as large turboprops, Hall said.
Grant money from the FAA has currently been secured to purchase additional property at the airport. This property is needed to maintain proper safety setbacks as the airport moves forward with the lengthening of the runway, according to Hall.
The new hangars add to revenue-generating projects such as the fuel farm that was built about four years ago with the same type of grant funds.
Hall said an airport justification study and Phase I environmental assessment and a design study will be completed next year and in two years the actual runway extension should be built if funds become available.
“Lengthening the runway will definitely help with growth,” Hall said. “Currently there are restrictions on the load on some airplanes leaving the airport due to runway length being insufficient. And the demand for corporate air travel is increasing as the county attracts large industries and construction companies.”
Also, as air traffic congestion continues to build in Memphis and other nearby airports like the Olive Branch airport, more demand will be placed on small airports just outside those markets.
Hall said there will be no problem leasing new hangar space and filling vacancies, as there is a waiting list of those who want to keep their aircraft at the airport.
Owners want their airplanes to stay in the dry and to be dust-free as well, he said.
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