THOMASVILLE — The City of Thomasville is moving forward with plans to enhance Thomasville Regional Airport.
The airport will receive a 504-foot extension to Runway 4 and parallel taxiway, as well as an additional 30,000-square-foot hangar that will provide additional aircraft lodging capacity.
The runway extension is slated for ground-breaking in the first quarter of 2016 and should be completed by mid-year. Construction of the hangar will begin in the fall and should take about two months to complete.
Airport Manager Mike Woodham said improvements will greatly enhance the airport’s ability to safely accommodate aircraft.
“Extending Runway 4 allows for safer takeoffs and landings in a wider range of conditions,” Woodham said. “On hot days when the air is thinner or in less-than-favorable weather events, more runway gives a larger margin of safety for both incoming and outgoing flights. In short, we’re providing more space to get up to speed for departures and more space to come to a stop for incoming aircraft.”
Woodham said the city is always looking for ways to enhance service to airport customers. “Improving the safety of such a vital asset to the community is a great way to accomplish that goal,” he explained.
“We already provide our airport customers with top-notch, red carpet service,” he said. “So when people are considering which airfield to do business with, we have positioned ourselves very strongly with our unparalleled service, combined with a longer runway and ample storage.”
“The more customers we can draw in and serve, the more opportunities we have to generate revenue through lodging fees and fuel sales. It impacts our local economy in many ways, since these same citizens are landing in Thomasville and then shopping and dining here,” he added.
The City Council approved a cost-share agreement from the Georgia Department of Transportation that outlines the cost breakdown for engineering, design and bidding services, as well as the federal, state and local share of costs.
By using state and federal funds, the City of Thomasville will be responsible for about $12,770 of the $246,430 contract for engineering, design and bidding services.
The council also approved a contract for the additional hangar, including engineering, design and bidding services, as well as associated apron and site work. Both contracts were awarded to Holt Consulting, under the city’s Master Services Agreement approved by the City Council in January.
Woodham noted that after state and federal funding, the city will be responsible for about 5 percent of runway extension costs.
Originally a World War II Army airfield, Thomasville Regional Airport has a rich history. The airfield was an advanced fighter training field from 1942 to 1945.
Planes such as the Bell P-39 Aircobra, the Curtis P-40 Warhawk and the North American P-51 Mustang were housed at the airfield. In the early 1950s, Spence Field near Moultrie and Moody Air Force Base at Valdosta used the airfield for take-off and landing practice.
Today, Thomasville Regional Airport experiences about 12,500 take-offs/landings annually between its two runways.