MACON, Ga. — A massive expansion plan at Middle Georgia Regional Airport is on the tarmac, ready for takeoff. Tuesday, Macon-Bibb commissioners set aside millions for several different projects.
"Being around airplanes, I've always loved airplanes, since I was a little kid. And being in aviation, I just kind of grew up around it with my dad, and now I get to be a part of it," said Joey Dodd, a trainee pilot, and operations coordinator at the airport.
When he's not in the sky, he's on the ground.
"Make sure all of our tenants are basically following everything the FAA has set forth for us in their guidelines," Dodd explained.
Soon, Middle Georgia Regional could have some new tenants for Dodd to keep track of.
"The longer the runway is, the more market you can attract," said Interim Airport Director Doug Faour.
Commissioners allocated almost $2.2 million in federal infrastructure funds and grants to give the airport's runway expansion an 'all clear' for takeoff. They plan to extend the runway from 6,500 to 7,100 feet.
"It's going to help secure the customers that we have here, and help them to bring larger aircraft in," Faour said.
Larger planes mean bigger business as the airport works toward branding itself as a maintenance hub. Also in the works is a new general aviation terminal. Commissioners spent almost a quarter of a million dollars on environmental studies, and designs at their last meeting. Faour says it's all about keeping the airport up-to-date. He says several of the airport's buildings are in need of an update.
"Many of them are very old, so this would give us a new terminal, with general aviation traffic, corporate traffic and a variety of any other traffic that comes through," he said.
The next thing on the docket is a groundbreaking for the runway expansion in November. They hope to be finished with the whole thing by 2024.
Another project they'll see pretty soon is a new control tower. The FAA recently announced the airport as one of 30 that will receive a federally-funded construction project.