Frequent flyers out of Kirksville may notice several changes at the airport over the coming year.
The Kirksville Regional Airport plans to make several improvements to its infrastructure in order to accommodate Federal Aviation Administration guidelines and to modernize the airport. Upgrades span from runway improvements to new updated furniture and ticket counters. Renovations will begin this July, with work on the airport lighting system.
The city is also considering a plan to improve transportation to the airport.
“It’s been highly encouraged for a shuttle service to get going for taking people in and out of Kirksville airport,” Mayor Glen Moritz said.
If the shuttle program is successful, Moritz said the city may look to expand its services to beyond just the regional airport to include nursing homes and other facilities in need of transportation within Kirksville.
Even though the airport is small, airport director Glenn Balliew thinks many residents underestimate its importance to the Kirksville community.
“It does a lot,” Balliew said. “It has a lot of jobs, there’s a lot of money that goes back into the community because of the jobs we have here. Plus there’s jobs in town because the airport is here, so it’s worth improving.”
The airport offers flights nine times per week to St. Louis. According to Balliew, the airport services over 10,000 people a year, resulting in about 27 people per day. The flights offered are subsidized by the Essential Air Service program to be very cheap and affordable.
“It’s a very economic way to travel,” Balliew said. “$50 there, $50 to return. No parking fees. It would cost you that just to park at St. Louis if you were going on a long trip.”
The airport also plans on more improvements in 2015, including renovations to the runway ramps which would allow for larger aircrafts at the airport.