MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Wednesday marked a big milestone in the push to get commercial flights moved to the Mobile Downtown Airport.
Mobile Airport Authority cut the ribbon on the main runway after a $9 million resurfacing project.
It was determined three years ago the runway needed repair if commercial flights were to be moved. It closed back in May for the project to begin after the funding was secured.
“Outside of building a new terminal, this is probably one of the single largest projects an airport will undertake,” said Chris Curry, Mobile Airport Authority President.
The improvements included 8,600 feet of runway resurfaced, drainage improvements, and new LED lighting. The project took only about five months to complete because they were able to shut down all traffic on the runway during the upgrades.
“This is just one step along the way, you know it takes a long time to build a new airport and that’s essentially what we’re doing, and it starts today with the new runway and benefits not only the commercial service but also our tenants, Airbus and ST Aerospace,” Curry said.
During Wednesday’s event, Mayor Sandy Stimpson mentioned the potential for a huge increase in profits, bringing in $1.2 billion to our area.
“It’s an opportunity of a generation to have an international airport located in one of the top ten deepwater ports in the United States of America,” Mayor Stimpson said.
A new terminal, part of the process of bringing in commercial flights too. That cost sitting at $250 million. The city’s contribution is $30 million, and the mayor is proposing to use surplus money for that.
“What we would like to do is build this terminal with no debt, and the reason for doing that is as we try to take on the competition and we try to get more passengers is to be a low-cost airport, and the way to do that is to not to have a lot of debt,” Mayor Stimpson said.
So far there’s been no word on what specific airlines might come, if international travel will be available, or how many planes could be coming to the new terminal.