Business is Taking Off at Valdosta Regional Airport
Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
Activity at Valdosta Regional Airport – defined as takeoffs and landings – is up considerably in 2012 over 2011, but remains below peak levels set in 2009 and 2010. Private planes carrying business executives into the area comprise the majority of the air traffic.
"Most of the planes come in on day trips. We have a good mix of business in the area. For example, I've seen the Archer Daniel Midlands jet, John Deere and Drury Inn among others," said Jim Galloway, executive director and manager of the Valdosta Regional Airport.
Located three miles south of Valdosta, the airport consists of three runways, flight service facilities operated by Valdosta Flying Service as well as maintenance, training and flight charter facilities. According to Galloway, the airport has built six new corporate hangars to accommodate growth in business traffic.
"We're ready to house new companies that may move to the area or existing businesses that are expanding," Galloway said.
With the new hangars and a runway that is the third longest in the state behind only Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Savannah-Hilton Head International, Valdosta Regional Airport is well positioned to serve a growing industrial base.
"We work hand in hand with the city and county managers and the chamber of commerce to make sure we are aligned with what they are trying to accomplish," Galloway said.
In addition, the airport serves doctors and health care providers, sports teams traveling to and from Valdosta State University and units at Moody Air Force Base that use the facility for tactical training exercises.
Adding New Capabilities
This fall, the airport will begin a $2.7 million project to build a new fire station and add fire-fighting equipment. The new fire station will be located on the east side of the airport along Madison Highway. Construction will progress in a phased approach to ensure the fire station is operable throughout the project. Completion is scheduled for the fall of 2013.
"Fire fighting capabilities have evolved a lot over the years so we're very excited to bring the very latest in equipment and facilities to our airport," Galloway said.
Features of the new fire station will include separate rooms for training, first aid and decontamination. Uniforms will be washed and dried on site. A new fire truck will be purchased, providing valuable redundancy to the airport's current truck.
"The new building will also set the tone for the architectural style of the airport going forward," Galloway said.
Supporting the Region
The Georgia Department of Transportation recently commissioned an economic impact study of the state's airport system. The study estimates the Valdosta Regional Airport generated 260 total jobs, a payroll of $7.8 million and total economic output of $25.1 million in 2010.
In addition to private business air travel, Delta Airlines has three flights in and out of Valdosta every weekday and two on Saturday. Delta's service provides one-stop connecting flights to more than 230 destinations in the U.S. and around the world. With the airline paying a fee for every passenger who boards a flight in Valdosta, the flights generate important revenue for the airport.
"Passenger traffic is running a little behind 2011 levels but it has been picking up each month in 2012," Galloway said.
The airport also hosts a "Free, Cheap and Easy" annual event to attract flights to stop and re-fuel enroute to "Sun 'n Fun," a large aviation event in Lakeland, Fla. By offering discounted fuel and food, the airport attracts more than 500 additional visitors during the "Free, Cheap and Easy" event.
More information on Valdosta Regional Airport is available at www.flyvaldosta.com or call 229-333-1833.