Emphasizing that recommendations presented about the future of Prescott Municipal Airport are planning documents, not firm commitments, Douglas Sander, an airport consultant and the project manager, presented his final report on July 11.
Sander spoke to a crowd of an estimated 100 people, who gathered at Centennial Center near the airport for the “Open House Meeting.”
“You need to know that this final report, the fourth we’ve prepared since beginning in September 2016, is simply that – a proposed plan for development over a period of time,” Sander said. Sander and his team from Delta Airport Consultants, have been working on the Airport Master Plan for more than two years.
The intent of the Airport Master Plan is to give the greater community a realistic, flexible and sustainable blueprint to meet future airport needs.
“We want it to reflect community attitudes and input,” said Prescott Airport Manager Robin Sobotta. “The plan should balance community concerns with reasonable practices.”
Sander, using charts and a PowerPoint presentation, reviewed each of three suggested development phases and their estimated costs to be considered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Phase One, from year one through five, would cost $33.6 million, with 90 percent paid by the FAA. Phase Two, year six through 10, would cost $80 million, and the FAA would cover 95 percent of those expenses. Phase Three, 10 to 20 years, would cost $33 million, again with the FAA funding most of that cost.
Proposed plans include expansion and lengthening of some runways. The primary runway to be lengthened is Runway 3, currently 7,619 feet long. The FAA had revised its earlier review and now recommends that it be lengthened to 10,000 feet, Sander said.
Recommendations also included the relocation and expansion of some hangars, relocation of the air traffic control tower, and demolition of the current terminal and construction of a new one.
Sander said the next steps will involve several actions:
- Submitting the Airport Master Plan to Prescott City Council for review and acceptance.
- Submitting the plan accepted by the city to the FAA for its analysis, revision and recommendations.
- Receiving authorization from the FAA to move forward with the planning process.
- Ultimate implementation of approved development plans.
The audience was interested in the likelihood of future commercial air service to Prescott.
Sobotta explained that a Prescott City Council recommendation that SkyWest Airlines to begin commercial air service with 50-passenger jets had gone to the Department of Transportation. Sobotta said SkyWest proposed flying daily routes to two major airports, Denver and Los Angeles. See related story about SkyWest Airlines, p. __
When asked whether skilled labor is in the area to handle the necessary work when airport development begins, both Sander and Sobotta said yes, the workforce is here and new jobs will create good employment opportunities for local workers.
Asked when a new terminal might be constructed, it was noted that the city is initiating a feasibility study in the near future and that a recommendation would be forthcoming.
Prescott City Manager Michael Lamar told Quad Cities Business News that he was satisfied with the final report from Delta Airport Consultants. He also said he was pleased that SkyWest Airlines had been recommended to provide Essential Air Service to the Prescott area. “My feeling is that everyone in the region will benefit from increased commercial air service.”
Former Prescott Mayor Marlin Kuykendall said he was glad a formal planning process for the airport was in place. “As long ago as 1967, folks thought we needed to move forward, and now, it is happening. This will benefit all of Central and Northern Arizona.”
Marty Grossman, Council member for the Town of Prescott Valley, said, “I speak only as a private citizen, not a spokesman for the Council, but I think it’s great to see the cooperation among all these communities in improving the airport. My thought – it will bring people, business and economic growth to all of us.” QCBN