The Mobile Airport Authority on Tuesday evening will conduct the final public hearing on its Federal Aviation Administration-backed master plan for moving commercial air traffic to the Mobile Downtown Airport at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley.
“The new plan allows us to best serve the customers of our region,” said Airport Authority President Chris Curry.
“At the Mobile Regional Airport, it is difficult for our passengers to get to the airport,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons why they use our neighboring airports in New Orleans and Pensacola.”
“The airlines would like to be Downtown, too,” he added.
That means Downtown gives the airport authority the best opportunity to attract new carriers, “which can create competition in the market place and drive down cost for our customers.”
After the public meeting at 6 p.m. this evening, which will be available via Zoom, “I would expect that the final master plan document will be released within the next week.”
And once the plan is officially published, “We will start moving forward immediately,” Curry added. Some elements of the work have already been started, but construction of a new terminal and other facets could take up to five years.
However, the new airport could be primary for the region as soon as a year and a half from now, because carriers could begin moving very quickly into the terminal opened to serve Frontier Airlines, long before a new terminal is complete.
Improvements at the downtown airport have been moving for some time. In late April, the Federal Aviation Administration announced an $8.8 million grant to rehabilitate a runway at the Downtown Airport.
At the time, Airport Authority Board Chairman Eliot Maisel said, “Safety is our number one priority. We want to express our gratitude to Senator Shelby for his leadership and help to secure this funding. During such an uncertain time, this funding will allow us to continue to improve the Mobile Downtown Airport and move closer to our goal of transitioning all commercial air service there.”
The Mobile Aeroplex is on the site of the old Brookley Field. In addition to the Downtown Airport, the complex includes two Airbus final assembly lines and an engineering site; the major maintenance, repair and overhaul facility of VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering, and a host of smaller aerospace firms.