Airport board reflects on expansion – Odessa American
Members of the Odessa Airport-Schleymeyer Field Advisory Board were surprised last week to learn that the Texas Legislature’s new appropriation bill included $ 15 million to expand one of the three tracks of airport to accommodate larger jets and they met Tuesday morning with State Rep. Brooks Landgraf and County Commissioners Tribunal for an explanation of the news.
Airport managers were concerned that neighbors would be disturbed by the heavier traffic and that they would have to wrest $ 800,000 in newly installed runway approach lights.
Representative Landgraf explained that runway # 1129 from southeast to northwest would be extended from 6,200 feet to over 7,000 feet at the northwest end, primarily to boost the ministry’s aviation operations division. of Texas Public Safety in its regional efforts to improve US-Mexico border security.
Explaining that the money will not be obtained until after Gov. Greg Abbott’s June 20 deadline to exercise his veto power over the articles, Landgraf said that Schleymeyer’s upgrade would increase his eligibility for annual Federal funding. United States Aviation Administration from $ 50,000 to $ 500,000.
Landgraf said that whether the $ 15 million came from the $ 88.7 million the legislature spent on statewide aviation credits or the $ 1.2 billion it set aside for border security. He said it “was probably more of the $ 1.2 billion for border security.”
Airport board chairman Winston Kenworthy said the panel would regret seeing the approach lights blown off and manager Mark Merritt said the extra noise “would make some neighbors really upset” because the The airport currently only landed business jets like the Bombardier Global Express and the Gulfstream 650. as well as various propeller machines. They noted that the approach fires were funded by the aviation division of the Texas Department of Transportation.
However, Kenworthy later said during the hour-long discussion that he was convinced of the value of the runway extension. “If it can fit into our plans, I think it’s good,” he said.
The other runways are 5,003 feet # 1634 and 5,703 feet # 0220.
In the presence of Commissioners Don Stringer and Mike Gardner, County Judge Debi Hays said Commissioners should consider what types of planes would use the longest runway and how often they would fly; but she said after leaving the boardroom in the Schleymeyer terminal north of town that she was “all for” the project.
Kenworthy said his board will not act until they see if the credit is enacted. He said the airport was in particular need of new taxiways and Landgraf said the board could use the money to resurface them and make other improvements as well as to lengthen the runway.
The other board members who attended were Travis Fisher, Monnie Sparkman, Joe Hurt and David Hood.
Landgraf said he felt he should calmly accept the money when he saw it in the appropriation bill and that it was still up to the board and commissioners to accept or reject it. . “I just wanted to give you the option,” he said.
The 81st District Republican said one of the reasons the DPS bases its planes at Schleymeyer is that fuel is cheaper there than at Midland International Air & Space Port.
But he said the DPS had larger planes than it could land at Schleymeyer, straddling its area with El Paso and heading south to the border and Big Bend National Park. Landgraf said a number of DPS pilots live here and in Midland.
“Without the issue of border security, we wouldn’t have this discussion,” he said, adding that the panel will have two years from September 1 to start the project if ownership passes.
Kenworthy and other board members have said they strongly support law enforcement.