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November 23, 2012

Activity picking up for regional airport

VINEMONT — Things at Cullman Regional Airport — Folsom Field — are bustling these days.

With what Assistant Manager Ben Harrison said are some of the best fuel prices around, flights coming in and out of the area have picked up. But that's not the only activity going on.

Construction has been abundant as well, as several projects are currently under way, including the building of a new corporate hangar. Three more are also in the works

"All of it is part of a process for future growth," Harrison said.

According to Harrison, the new corporate hangar will house Skydive of Alabama aircraft. As for the others, they're full too, as the space has already been spoken for.

"We had occupants agree to get in the building before we broke ground, so they will be occupied as soon as they're completed," Harrison said.

In addition to the new space, improvements are also being done to the airport's apron, or the area where aircraft are parked, unloaded or loaded, refueled, or boarded. As part of the project, the asphalt was taken up and replaced with concrete.

"This will allow us to be able to take in larger and heavier aircraft," Harrison said. "This is a very big thing for us because most concrete aprons would be at commercial airports like Birmingham or Huntsville."

He added the project should be finished by the end of the year, while hangars 12 and 13 should be completed by December. The estimated completion date for the corporate hangar is early spring.

The Cullman County Commission approved the application for a grant to purchase Joe Walker property by the Airport Board at its meeting last week. Longterm, Harrison said the goal for 2015 is to hopefully be able to lengthen the runway to 700 feet. For now though, it’s one phase at a time.

“Everything has to go on phases based on what the FAA wants you to do that year,” Harrison said.

With the recent announcement by Airbus that it will be building a $600 million plant in Mobile, Harrison hopes it will mean big things in the future for Cullman.

“We’re jut trying to get the airport ready if the opportunity presents itself or arises.”

* Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at agraves@cullmantimes.com

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