August 23, 2016
For Immediate Release
STILLWATER – “Eighty years ago in 1933, it took famed Oklahoma aviator, Wiley Post, 7 days and 19 hours to become the first pilot to fly solo around the world. In a meaningful reversal of aeronautic trends, here we are celebrating that some 49,000 citizens from Stillwater and the additional surrounding communities can now fly to Dallas Fort Worth in under an hour with endless connection possibilities,” said director Victor Bird with the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC).
At a dedication ceremony at the Stillwater Regional Airport, Bird gave remarks regarding the United States (US) having the most extensive and safest air transportation system in the world with just under 20,000 airport or landing facilities ranging from large commercial airports serving millions of passengers to small grass strips accommodating only a few aircraft annually. He emphasized that about 5,300 of these airports are open to the public, and 500 of these offer commercial service. Bird said, “Today, your airport has been upgraded from an industrious general aviation airport to a commercial service operator, and this community has achieved a distinguished accomplishment.”
A key catalyst for economic growth, the airport will have an integral part on the Stillwater economy. Bird stated, “Civil aviation has enabled small communities and rural areas to become part of the global marketplace by linking such communities with worldwide centers of commerce. Your runways will now be the new main streets for cities and towns that are emerging from this part of our state.”
“The U.S. aviation system, the envy of the world, did not just happen magically. It took years, indeed decades of research, planning, and the investment at the federal and state levels to implement new technologies and planning to meet the needs of society and commerce in our nation and Oklahoma.”
The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission has assisted in channeling $21.2M in grants and funding and has overseen 18 projects since 2001. “The success story for Stillwater Regional really begins at that pivotal time back in 2001 as a runway extension was completed to accommodate larger aircraft for business and general aviation, benefitting charter airplanes including those famous Oklahoma State University Cowboys sporting teams. Since that time a major runway rehabilitation was done as well as a realignment of the parallel taxiway to improve safety. Those significant improvements positioned the airport to receive commercial service. Currently, the construction of two connecting taxiways were completed at a cost of $980,000,” said Bird.
Completion of that project now, will allow next year’s project (realignment of the parallel taxiway section) to be constructed without interfering with the commercial service. In 2018, the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission will work to channel additional federal and state fund to rehabilitate the secondary and its parallel taxiway system.
These improvements are possible because of the partnership of our Commission with Governor Mary Fallin, Secretary Gary Ridley, officials with the City of Stillwater and Oklahoma State University, Representative Lee Denney and Senator Jim Halligan. The interest and dedication from these individuals has emboldened and facilitated the Commission to encourage, foster and assist in the development of aviation in this community. Stillwater, you now have commercial service and you are to be congratulated in your civic and economic flight into the 21st Century.
Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission
by Sandra Shelton, Director of Communications & Government Affairs
Phone: (405) 604-6900
110 N Robinson, Suite 200, Oklahoma City, OK 73102