Sep 30 2013
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Huntsville International Airport has received $15.7 million in discretionary funds from the Federal Aviation Administration to make improvements to its east runway, the airport announced Monday afternoon.
Expected to begin in March and last approximately one year, work on the east runway will involve expanding paved shoulders, widening full-strength pavement and upgrading lighting and signage. The grant is the largest Huntsville International Airport has ever received.
"A strong transportation infrastructure is critical to attracting new businesses and industries," said U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby. "This important grant will help Huntsville International Airport make the necessary improvements to its runway, ensuring safe and trustworthy operations. Such improvements are essential for an efficient transportation hub, and for those traveling to, from, and through Alabama."
In July, the airport reopened its west runway and adjacent taxiways after a $27.8 million renovation to accommodate Panalpina's 747-8 freighters. The airport improvement project was funded primarily by the FAA, though the airport matched 10 percent of the renovations using taxed passenger fees.
When the east runway is complete, all of the runways at Huntsville International Airport, which is currently No. 14 in the U.S. for its international air-cargo operations, will be set for the 747-8, or Group VI, aircraft.
"This grant allows us to continue the quest to improve our infrastructure for Group VI and handle the large volume of cargo we see at the airport," said Rick Tucker, Port of Huntsville executive director. "We have a 10-year plan for total investments of $85 million to our runways and taxiways, because it is crucial for our region's economy and to stay competitive in the global marketplace."