VALDOSTA -- The Valdosta-Lowndes County Airport Authority met twice recently to make several announcements and decisions.

At a special meeting on Tuesday, May 31, the authority members named Joe Prater as their new chairman and Steve Everitt as the new vice chairman. Prater has assumed the duties of longtime chairman Clarence Parker. In addition to naming new leaders, Wayne Edwards and Jeff Sikes were chosen by the county and city, respectively, as new authority members.

These men were officially welcomed to their new positions at the monthly meeting Tuesday, June 7.

Expansions were the main focus for this assembly, primarily the runway extension project and new hanger buildings.

During the meeting, Airport Director Bob Holliway gave a tentative schedule for the runway extension project. He also announced that the authority was anticipating the FFA 2006 entitlement money to be unnecessary in completing the extension project. The money will possibly be used to overlay the existing taxiway A and help with other necessary projects.

Also discussed was the construction work that has started on the new paint facility hangar being built by Skyway Ventures at the north end of the general aviation ramp.

At the June meeting, the authority approved a proposal to start the planning and design phase for a new T-hangar to be built at the south end of the general aviation ramp.

Funds for the $400,000 project will come from Airport Authority revenue, SPLOST revenue and a loan from the Georgia Municipal Association. Due to the length of the current waiting list, the authority members expect the hangar to be fully occupied when built.

In other business:

Authority members concurred with two proposals at the June meeting. The first was from Ambling Corp. for a structure that will house its Citation business jet. The construction will be funded by Ambling Corp. and will be on land already leased by Valdosta Flying service.

The second was for a new business, Trafficopters Inc., a business involved in helicopter maintenance, refurbishment, re-building and sales. The company wants to relocate from Okeechobee, Fla., to lease the office space and hangar previously leased to Airport Medical by Valdosta Flying service.

The price of aviation fuel has been reduced from $4.02/gallon to $3.25/gallon.

The Aircrew lounge at the general aviation terminal has been renovated.

There is now a wireless Internet service at the general aviation terminal.

ASA May monthly passenger enplanements were down, compared to 2004, for the fourth straight month, but were still above the figures for May 2001-03.

Airport Authority revenues are higher than forecasted and expenses are less than forecasted.

Here is the tentative schedule for the runway extension project:

June 6 - An environmental assessment public hearing was held in regard to the project. No input was received other than from Clarence Parker, who was strongly in favor of the project.

June 8 - Bids were advertised.

July 6 - Bids were opened.

July 11 - Applied for FFA Grant (2005 entitlement funds and discretionary funds)

July 15 - State grants provided to Airport Authority

July 20 - FAA and state grants returned to FFA and Georgia Department of Transportation

July 25 - Preconstruction conference

July 29 - Aug. 1 - Notice to proceed received from state

Aug. 15 - Start construction

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