Mobile Airport gets city funding, FAA support for move

FAA funds tied to site’s former military status

Mobile Downtown Airport. Photo by Mike Kittrell

Mobile Airport Authority has been made eligible for FAA funding in support of military sites. The announcement came on the heels of a City of Mobile grant of $30 million.

The authority has begun work on a major upgrade at Mobile Downtown Airport (BFM) in preparation for moving commercial passenger traffic to the downtown site by fall of 2024.

The Mobile City Council approved transfer of $30 million from General Fund reserves.

That funding will be part of a local match required for the project, which is estimated to cost more than $250 million.

While the FAA support doesn’t have a dollar amount attached to it, the ruling makes MAA eligible for funding that supports former military sites. Mobile Downtown Airport is an adaptation of the former Brookley Field and the complex there is known as Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley.

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“We are very excited to be accepted into the program. This program allows more flexible options as we continue to build and improve the infrastructure at the Mobile Downtown Airport,” said Chris Curry, Mobile Airport Authority president.

Mobile will be part of the FAA program for five years and may receive funding for utility construction, airport drainage improvements, parking lot construction and an apron reconstruction project.

“Adding civilian flights to these airports increases their role in fostering economic growth and creating jobs in their communities,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.

And FAA Associated Administrator of Airport Shannetta Griffin added: “Working with local stakeholders, the Military Airport Program is an innovative and fiscally responsible way to help improve prior military facilities and make them an important economic driver for their communities.”

The Military Airport Program, which seeks to increase “the capacity of the National Airspace System to serve the flying public,” has awarded $764 million to 35 airports since the program started in 1991.

Of the anticipated $250 million price tag for the move — including construction of the terminal, parking garage, apron expansion, environmental work and tenant relocation — the city’s $30 million leaves a balance of $220 million needed. Airport officials expect that some will come from the Department of Transportation, from a possible $100 million in congressionally directed funding requested by U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, and from the Mobile Airport Authority itself. MAA also plans to seek funding from Mobile County and the State of Alabama.

For more information on the airport move, visit here.

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