The new Conway Municipal Airport, which is planned to open in 2014, will be managed by the city, and the Conway City Council will begin taking steps to install a department head to run the airport.
After establishing an Airport Advisory Committee, the council will now consider a resolution that will place the airport as a department within the city. The committee recommended this to Conway Mayor Tab Townsell last week.
"The committee voted unanimously to recommend that the City take over the management of the new airport when it becomes operational by hiring a good manager who would report to the council," said Bill Hegeman, chairman of the advisory committee. "It was the feeling of the committee that this would give us the greatest control of all the factors relative to the operation of a new facility, provide the highest revenue stream, better control investments in the new facility and better project the positive image that is desired in a general aviation airport."
The committee includes Hegeman, William Adkisson, Brad Teague, Steve Magie, Fletcher Smith, Harrell Clendenin, Kevin Wish, Jack Bell and Ronnie Hall.
The city now utilizes a Fixed Base Operator to operate and manage the current airport with little or no input from city officials.
The new airport is on schedule for a late summer opening in 2014, according to Hall. The council will consider the acceptance of a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, which will be part of the numerous grants given from the agency and the state for the airport. A $7.5 million loan has been secured for the ability to finish the airport, until the sale of the old airport is complete. According to amounts given by Hall, the net cost of the new airport to the city is about $9 million.