New airport to become department within city

Conway’s new municipal airport, which will be open in 2014, will be managed by the city following an approval of a resolution by the council during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday.

 

The council, down by two aldermen during the meeting, voted 6-0 to approve the resolution, which would allow the council to appoint a department head to run the day-to-day operations. Conway Mayor Tab Townsell said that this type of operation would be beneficial for the city because of the revenue that the city would be able to generate.

“When you think of such things as hangar space rental and land use and gasoline sales, we will be able to offset expenses that airport would have,” Townsell said. “With some smart work on our end, we could be able to get more fly-through refueling.”

Because the airport would not be open until 2014, the city would be able to put together an operational budget next year and create a line  item in the 2014 budget.

The city now utilizes a Fixed Base Operator to operate and manage the current airport with little or no input from city officials.

Bill Hegeman, who is chairman of the Airport Advisory Committee, told the council that the best of the three options was to allow the city to manage the airport.

“This would give us the greatest control of all the factors relative to the operation of a new facility, provide the highest revenue stream, better control investments in the new facility and better project the positive image that is desired in a general aviation airport,” he said.

 

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