Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport officials are looking to extend portions of the main runway after the Federal Aviation Administration authorized the environmental impact exploration.
The main runway, called runway 17 and runway 35, would be expanded on 150 feet on the north end and 1,000 feet the south end if the proposals are allowed. Craig Williams, the Kalamazoo airport director, said the main reason they want an extended runway is for safety reasons.
“You need to have a safe operating runway to operate on,” Williams said.
Williams said the extend runway will allow for a greater margin of safety and would not affect any residents in the area. However, they are planning a noise study to try to lift or modify the existing noise curfew that places limits on the aircraft that can fly between 11 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.
The proposal would include moving a portion of Norfolk railroad on airport property onto Pfizer, Mann and Hummel and Portage properties, which Williams said the businesses support the move.
“The runway that's in place right now has the capacity and the capability to support this type of aircraft that will fly in here on passenger flights. This would be something that would enhance a greater safety margin because it would allow the runway to be longer,” said Williams.
The project is eligible for the Federal Aviation Administration airport improvement program.
Williams said they do not know exactly how much the project would cost because they are still in the planning phase. When they hit the design phase is when they would learn about how much the project would cost.
The airport director said this proposal would not mean new flights coming to the area
If it goes through, they are projected to start construction in 2025.
There will be a public meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 pm. Feb. 26, 2020, at the Air Zoo, 6151 Portage Rd., to ask airport officials about the project.