Over the years, the Monticello Municipal Airport at Ellis Field has become a gleaming example of what a general aviation airport can mean to city or region.
At Tuesday night’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Monticello City Council, Bennie Ryburn III, president of the board of directors of the Monticello Municipal Airport, presented a report on the financial state and current and future improvement projects that will keep the facility at the top of the list of similar airports across the state.
“We should all be pretty proud of what our facility has become with the additional hangar space we’ve constructed over the years and the income that it has created for the facility,” said Ryburn.
He went on to say that the Monticello Municipal Airport is completely self-sufficient at this time.
“As an example, at the beginning of October we had about $45,000 in the bank, $2,300 in receivables and nearly $29,000 worth of fuel in the tanks,” he continued. “This gives you a very positive report on the financials of the facility.”
Ryburn said that even with the positive figures, the facility continues to make improvements to build the facility into one that all of Monticello proud to share.
Ryburn said that the ongoing projects at the airport include:
• Bids have gone out to put bi-fold doors and enclose the open hangar at the facility. This is to make the hangar more desirable to rent and provide the facility with an additional five spaces to rent.
• A fuel systems upgrade that will include the installation of new hoses, overhangs to protect fuel customers from the weather and equipped with adequate lighting and new, larger read out screen on the system so customers can see their purchases.
• The roof replacement on the large hangar that was built in 1974.
• Applying for an equipment grant to install an in-ground power unit, which will be used by aircraft and provide an means of supplying power to planes for maintenance and system updates without the wear on the planes power system.
• Approach improvements making the airport more accessible to a lower landing height (called the decision height) by removing trees and other impeding obstacles.
Ryburn also reported that he recently attended the Arkansas Airport Operators Association meetings in Fort Smith and while there the Monticello airport received gleaming reviews.
“Between 40-50 of the 90 or so airports in the state were represented,” he explained. “Glenn Boles, a representative of the Federal Aviation Administration for the state of Arkansas, made a recent trip to our airport and said, ‘Your airport in Monticello, Arkansas is the poster child for general Aviation Airports’”.