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Airport celebrates 40 years; passenger volume up


Dispatch Staff Report



The Golden Triangle Regional Airport celebrated its 40th anniversary on Friday. On hand to celebrate the landmark was previous Executive Director Nick Ardillo, who helped current Executive Director Mike Hainsey give out cake to commemorate the event.  


After the celebration, GTRA board members got good news: Passengers were up 3.6 percent for August and a total of 3.7 percent annually. 


And the morning Atlanta flight is carrying more passengers than the morning Memphis, Tenn., flight used to. 


Airport officials expected travel volume to stay steady despite Delta Airlines' decision to cut flights to Memphis. The change started this month. 


In other updates, Hainsey reported work began Thursday on the expansion of the main parking lot. Construction is expected to take three months. 


"The work will move the entrance and exits and add two rows of parking," Hainsey wrote in an email. The project is funded by a combination of federal, state and airport funds. 


Funds for a hangar rehabilitation project for Columbus Air Force Base operations was approved. GTRA was approved for a $350,000 state multimodal grant for the project, which is in the design phase. It should be complete by March 2012 


The airport also was awarded about $200,000 in additional federal grant funds to cover additional work on its runway expansion ,as well as funds to renovate additional parts of the terminal. 


The airport added an additional 1,500 feet to its formerly 6,500-foot runway, and contractors are going over punch items on the project.




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