Editor, The Liberty County Commission and Development Authority leaders poured millions of dollars into MidCoast Regional Airport. Now they are spending millions more to extend one of the four runways from 5,000 to 6,500 feet. Why? Are they planning on implementing nonstop commercial air service?
Only seven of the 104 airports in Georgia have runways of 6,500 feet and they are major cities like Atlanta, Savannah, Macon, etc. To put this in perspective, a Boeing 737-600 can operate from a 5,000-foot runway. Even an empty Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet can take off with 5,000 feet.
The project, which includes a new office building and two large hangers, is being driven in the hope an unnamed company might locate here. So far, there is no indicated commitment from the company.
Unconfirmed reports indicate the company might be an aircraft-repair facility. If this — or anything resembling work on large aircraft — is the case, then highly specialized, certified and skilled workers need only apply. Liberty County Development Authority leaders have stated that industrial companies do not hire Liberty County workers because many don’t have the education or skills they require. I love how we reduce unemployment in counties other than our own.
What about the other three runways? The Federal Aviation Administration publishes an “Airport/Facility Directory” every 56 days. In the Sept. 18, 2014, publication, it identified the condition of these three runways as “badly cracked with grass growing in the cracks.”
The taxiways and parking ramp on the north side of the terminal don’t fare much better. Markings painted on runways are critical to safe flight operations, yet they have been allowed to fade to the point of being nearly invisible. They are letting the rest of the airfield deteriorate and literally go to seed.
I see no responsible justification for extending any runway at MidCoast Airport.
But what do I know? I’m just a former air-traffic controller and retired airfield manager who has logged multiple landings at MidCoast Airport. What credentials do the commissioners and the development authority bring to the table?
— Terry Doyle