FAA approves plans for Mobile Airport move

Mobile Downtown Airport Sign
The current Downtown Terminal will give way to a new 130,000-square-foot international-ready terminal. Photo by Mike Kittrell

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved a new master plan for the Mobile Airport Authority — a plan that relocates commercial passenger traffic from the Mobile Regional Airport in west Mobile to the Mobile Downtown Airport at the Brookley complex along Interstate 10.

The FAA “found about 55% of the Mobile market is lost to neighboring airports, and Mobile could recapture this market by moving its location to the downtown area,” the Airport Authority said in announcing the FAA approval.

More passengers should lead to more flights and more competitive pricing, airport officials expect.

Cost of the project over the next 20 years is estimated at $403 million, but the first phase — construction of the terminal, parking garage, surface parking and tarmac expansion — is estimated at $160 million.

The terminal will include facilities needed to qualify as an international terminal, which officials believe would benefit the Downtown Airport’s neighbors, including the Port of Mobile and the city’s major aviation and aerospace cluster: Airbus, VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering, Continental Aerospace Technologies, Safran, MAAS and more, many with international roots.

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The Airport Authority completed a feasibility study for the project in 2018; then hired consultants Leigh Fisher to develop the master plan. Leigh Fisher completed what’s usually a three-year project in just 18 months.

“This economic study proves what we have collectively known for a long time: moving the Mobile Airport downtown will be a win-win for Mobile and the surrounding Gulf Coast region,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “When fully operational, the airport will maintain good-paying jobs while providing an increased economic boom for our region and offering additional opportunities to visit the Port city for work and play.”

Next step is clearing space for the new terminal, which officials hope to open in early 2024.

The Mobile Airport Authority owns and operates Mobile Regional Airport (MOB), Mobile Downtown Airport (BFM) and the Brookley Aeroplex. Delta, American and United air lines serve the Port City with direct service to Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte and Houston.

Adjacent to the port, the BFM complex location supports multimodal services including aviation, maritime, rail and trucking in one location.

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