TAHLEQUAH DAILY PRESS
Signs of growth January 17, 2012 By ROB ANDERSON
TAHLEQUAH – While many airports continue to lose services due to airline mergers or rising fuel costs, the Tahlequah Municipal Airport continues to show signs of growth.
Airport Manager Greg Bliss said three private hangars are currently under construction at the city’s airfield has three private hangars.
“We’re continuing to grow, while other airports are not, and I don’t really have an answer as to why that is,” said Blish. “Fuel sales [for 2011] were around $350,000. We finished the runway extension and taxi extension back in ’09. We added two taxi lanes in 2011 and added 18 more hangar building sites.”
Blish said the airport currently houses 58 aircraft. According to December’s Federal Aviation Administration information posted on AirNav.com, the Tahlequah Municipal Airport was base to 43 aircraft, including 37 single-engine planes, five multi-engine planes and one helicopter.
The runway extension to 5,000 feet helps ensure safe landing for most small corporate jet aircraft, which is important due to the growth in general and corporate aviation.
“We do have coaches and scouts coming in [to the area] to look at players,” said Blish. “There has been an increase in that sort of thing.”
Smaller airports usually must depend on the financial effects created from major airline service to larger, hub airfields, but the Tahlequah airport has tried to maintain a working relationship with flying enthusiasts to help seed financial viability.
“We cater to the flying public,” said Blish. “We try to provide good service and have hangar space available and good fuel prices. We just provide good service to the flying community. Now our business aircraft traffic has been down, but business aircraft has been down nationally.”
In catering to private aviators, the city airport hosted the 2011 Ercoupe Owners Club National Convention last June.
“We hosted a national fly-in,” said Blish. “We had approximately 85 aircraft; 65 were Ercoupe.”
This was fourth opportunity for the Tahlequah airfield to host the international club event. An organization of Ercoupe owners was started in 1970, and the city’s airport was host to the club’s first convention in 1975
An Ercoupe is a low-wing monoplane aircraft.
Blish said other organizations have been invited to fly into Cherokee County, as well.
“We’ve invited several groups,” he said.
“There are different clubs. Each plane has a group or a club. They have national conventions. We’ve invited several groups, but haven’t heard back yet.”
Blish said the 2012 outlook includes more hangar expansion.
“We have a lot of hanger sites that people can lease through the city,” he said.
Source: TAHLEQUAH DAILY PRESS