News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
FRIDAY, JULY 20, 2007

Pryor Field Airport officials say renovations should finish soon

By Evan Belanger · 340-2442

Officials at Pryor Field Regional Airport say a new terminal building — currently under construction — could be open for business within the next month or two.

The terminal is the pinnacle of more than $3.3 million in improvements at Pryor over the past year.

According to Donnie Lane, an Airport Authority board member, the changes make the airport and surrounding areas more attractive to out-of-state visitors — particularly those interested in investing.

“Right now, when we bring industrial projects in, their first impression of the area is a 1940s vintage hangar,” he said. “Soon, we’ll be able to bring them into a facility that’s much more representative of our community.”

Features in the terminal will include a passenger waiting lounge, a pilot lounge and a meeting room for executives, Federal Aviation Administration training and board meetings. Other recent improvements include a 1,000-foot runway extension and strengthening project. According to local ground crews, the runway improvements allow jets as large as a Boeing 737 or a DC-9 to land.

“That’s good because a lot of companies keep private jets,” Lane said.

Upcoming improvements at Pryor include roadwork at the the main entrance on U.S. 31. The Decatur City Council accepted a $154,173 FAA grant Monday to pay for that project.

Lane said the work will make the airport, behind Calhoun Community College on U.S. 31, more accessible.

The busiest general-aviation airport in the state, Pryor Field is owned jointly by the cities of Decatur and Athens, and by Morgan and Limestone counties. According to Decatur Mayor Don Kyle, Pryor Field is a selling point for development in the area.

“It’s the busiest in the state, and that’s a problem we don’t mind having,” he said.

Of the millions spent at Pryor in the past year, nearly all came from FAA grants. Each came with a 5 percent match for the owners to pay.

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