Headland Municipal Airport will soon see a new taxiway as part of a package of more than $25 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants.
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby announced July 19 that $25,517,940 worth of grants will be distributed among local airports throughout the state for improvements and new structures, with $990,000 awarded to the Headland Municipal Airport, which could spur economic growth in the area.
“These FAA grants support critical projects that aim to improve safety, security, and efficiency of airports across the state,” said Shelby. “Airport infrastructure plays a vital role in economic growth and development in Alabama, and I look forward to the progress that will stem from these grants.”
At the moment, the runway at Headland Municipal Airport also serves as a taxiway for the roughly 75 to 80 flights that takeoff and land at the airport daily.
“It makes things difficult and much slower at the airport because every time we utilize the runway as a taxiway it has to be closed off from any other aircraft until it’s cleared. And that’s quite a process,” said Headland Airport Director Pete Crews.
When the taxiway is built, the airport will be able to accommodate larger aircraft, including jets that can hold roughly 12 to 15 passengers, Crews said. Currently, the airport has difficulty welcoming larger aircraft because some planes are unable to maneuver the sharp turn from the runway to the ramp. The taxiway will alleviate the angle of the turn, allowing bigger aircraft onto the ramp.
In addition to having the ability to transfer more people to Headland, the airport is looking forward to the additional fuel sales due to the increased traffic. Two years ago, the airport built a fuel tank, which now allows the airfield to service aircraft that take aviation gasoline, or avgas, as well as jet fuel. With larger, more diverse aircraft able to access the airfield, they can purchase gas at the airport on their way to the next destination.
To apply for the grant, Crews had to gather a team of local engineers to evaluate the land and draft a plan as to how much grant money would be needed to accomplish the taxiway, and how they intended to construct the path. Wiregrass Construction will be working on the project, which is expected to begin in September and should be completed by the end of the year, Crews said.