Hillsdale Municipal Airport will begin construction on the second phase of a parallel taxiway in July.
“These projects have been on the books for probably 15 years,” Ginger Moore, the airport’s manager, said.
The construction of a taxiway running parallel to the existing east-west runway is a three-phase project that will be funded through a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The aviation business in Hillsdale has increased over the years. On a day with good weather, Hillsdale’s airport can see anywhere between six and ten single-engine, private aircraft, and one or two jets using the facilities per day, Moore said.
“When the airport was built in 1963, it was mostly just single-engine airplanes with people who own their own little airplanes and flew for fun,” Moore said. “Over the years, business aviation has found that it’s a good way of travel, where you don’t have to worry about schedules and different things.”
The airport has also begun to see more business from donors at Hillsdale College who are unwilling to fly into Detroit. The increase in business has meant that creating a modern airport is a necessity, Moore said.
“It’s dangerous to be taxiing out on the runway if an airplane were to come in, and they’ve only got one runway,” Moore said. “The taxiways are just to keep the people that are on the ground off the active runway.”
The first phase of the taxiway project was a partial taxiway constructed two years ago which runs from the terminal to the west end of the runway.
Since the runway can be used in either direction, depending on the direction the wind is blowing, the airport is extending a second partial taxiway to the east end in the second phase of the project.
“The way it is now, the plane’s gotta back taxi out to the east end,” Scott Curry, the airport’s line manager, said.
The third phase will be connecting the two taxiways and moving the airport terminal to a concrete pad which was built two years ago. As of yet, the airport does not have a date to begin the third phase of the project.
“Now you know I’m talking with the FAA asking, ‘Hey you have any more money because I would love to put a new terminal over there,” Moore said. “So we’ll keep our fingers crossed, but we don’t know when the next project will be after the one in July.”