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Construction projects nearing bid phase at Tri-State Airport

Apr. 19, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Tri-State Airport has construction projects that should be going out to bid within about the next month, including taxiway repair work and water and sewer infrastructure on the south side of its campus.

These come as the airport is wrapping up renovations to its terminal, which have included everything from restroom and HVAC upgrades to new carpeting and counters. New seating is expected to arrive soon, including benches with outlets on the side for charging devices, airport director Jerry Brienza told the Airport Authority Board at its monthly meeting.

Brienza also told the board there's no new information to relay about whether or not the air traffic control towers will be affected by Federal Aviation Administration budget cuts. The airport's tower is on an FAA list of airport towers that could be closed as a result of the $85 billion in mandatory spending cuts in this year's federal budget.

"We still face complete tower closure or midnight tower closure," Brienza said, but he has emphasized that a closure of the tower here in Huntington would not mean the airport would close. It could continue to operate with assistance from towers elsewhere, he has said.

"We are still fighting for our tower," he said.

In the meantime, the board approved an agreement with Thrasher Engineering for planning, environmental, design and construct administration services for the Airport Industrial Park on its south side. The fee is not to exceed $179,000 and is funded by two West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council grants awarded to Kenova and Ceredo.

The board also heard a presentation from consultants with R.W. Armstrong, who have been working with the airport for a couple years on strategic growth plans, including everything from parking and terminal upgrades to its industrial park development. Those plans have been adjusted and spliced into smaller, more affordable projects to reflect the slowdown in the airline industry.

At Tri-State, enplanements were down 14 percent for the month of March and 17 percent for fiscal year to date, following the loss of Delta Airlines last spring. U.S. Airways' March enplanements were up 7 percent over March 2012 and Allegiant's were up 4 percent from March 2012.

Allegiant's Myrtle Beach flights begin May 3 and will run Mondays and Fridays through Aug. 12. Allegiant temporarily halted its Fort Lauderdale service. It stopped Monday and is expected to begin again on June 7.