Pueblo Memorial Airport is moving forward with several planned facility improvements intended to enhance service and keep enplanements above 10,000 so the airport will continue to receive federal funding.
These upgrades are even more critical following announcements that Allegiant Air is ending its Las Vegas flight and Great Lakes Airlines is pulling one of its flights. In January, the airport renewed its contract with SEH as its professional engineer. SEH is delivering a new training runway, ramp rehabilitation, and crosswind runway rehabilitation. The new training runway has been designed and is on schedule for construction to begin in July of 2012.
The new training runway and ramp rehabilitation are the first projects the airport intends to undertake on the strength of FAA funds already secured. Earlier this month, the airport was awarded an additional $400,000 in state funds to further support improvement projects. The new runway will replace the existing training runway that has been plagued with safety issues since it opened in the 1980s. The ramp rehabilitation project will address long-term safety issues.
These two projects should also enable the airport to improve its general aviation services, and possibly attract new customers. Airport Manager Mark Lovin has said the airport may pursue more charter business, which counts toward the 10,000 annual commercial enplanements needed to assure future federal funding.
“We expect to meet the 10,000 enplanement goal this year,” Lovin said, “and these improvements represent opportunities to come up with new strategies for ensuring the airport remains a service and revenue asset to the City of Pueblo and its residents. We are taking an aggressive approach to remain competitive.”
SEH Project Manager Eric McClure has been providing engineering support and construction oversight for the airport since 2009. He sees the opportunities in the airport’s current situation as well. “The past few years have been growth years at Pueblo Memorial Airport, and we made improvements to keep up with that growth,” he said. “Now, we’re making improvements to help the airport move to the next level. It’s a challenging position, but most airports emerge from these situations with a stronger business model and—most importantly—facilities that match long-term goals and are convenient and safe.”