The airport is in the early stages of adding to its facilities with the North Taxiway Project. Since the county has seen a recent growth in the population, the demand for additional space is becoming evident.
Calhoun City Council member David Hammond said that this is a step the airport needs to take if it wants to stay competitive with other regional airports in the area.
“It’s not necessary right now, but we do hope to expand with the growing population in Northwest Georgia, 100 percent occupation of the hangars and larger corporation footholds in the community,” said Hammond.
He explained that not only does the airport not have any empty hangars, but it is also likely to become busier in the next couple of years.
“It’s just the next logical step to be a bigger more congested airport, if the demand is there,” said Hammond. “If you look at every airport surrounding us, from one metro to another, the demand is growing unbelievably.”
The North Taxiway Project will simply make Calhoun a more desirable place to fly out of rather than going elsewhere. The project will give the airport its first full taxiway, according to Hammond.
“It (the taxiway) will run parallel to the runway, which allows for multiple aircraft in the area,” said Hammond. “It gives the ability to get one safely off the runway and bring one in to the taxiway, in case there was ever a need for a second one to land.”
Hammond explained that while the airport is currently not that congested, the taxiway will be an opportunity for the airport to take off.
“These are the steps you take to grow your airport to the next level of activity,” said Hammond. “That’s why you see 100 percent occupancy in the hangars right now.”
He explained how the taxiway works.
“What you do, if you are flying into the airport, you land on the runway; if you have a taxiway, you go to the end of the runway and you get on the taxiway to drive back to either the offices, the fuel depot or the hangars,” explained Hammond. “This would allow, in a congested time, for you to have another aircraft taking off on the runway or landing on the runway while the other one is on the taxiway.”
Airport officials are currently waiting for approval from the federal government and conducting environmental impact studies, which consist of how to properly reflow a stream that runs close to the airport, according to Calhoun-Gordon County Airport manager Dwight Albritton.
“There are lots of stages we have to go through,” said Albritton. “It’s in the early stages now, and the environmental studies are ongoing.”
According to Hammond, the potential taxiway is still going through the beginning steps.
“We’ve gotten the first preliminary prints, which all have to be approved by the FAA,” explained Hammond. “We will start trying to acquire land adjacent to the airport, then we will start with the second phase, which is land acquisition and then the third phase, which is build out.”
Albritton is eager to get the project underway, but doesn’t look for all the technicalities to be completed anytime soon.
“I do not anticipate moving dirt on it until the beginning of 2013,” said Albritton. “We have a long way to go.”