NEWS RELEASE: US Senator and Aeronautics Director Tour State Airport

STATEWIDE (June 9, 2017) – Senator Jim Inhofe and director Vic Bird toured four airports within the Oklahoma Airport System on Friday.  The duo along with a report from National Public Radio flew in Inhofe’s Cessna 340 aircraft.     

Inhofe departed Jones Memorial and flew to Bristow Regional Airport where he toured the facility with Bird.

Inhofe and Bird met with airport officials regarding a runway project set to start construction sometime this summer.  The project would construct a new 4,000 ft x 75 ft runway approximately 240 ft to the east of the existing runway.  The new runway would address several of the non-standard design issues such as the runway laying too close to apron/taxiway/hangars, poor line of sight from runway end to runway end, and inadequate safety areas, and improves the runway safety area, while providing for a much improved, paved landing surface.

Total cost of the project was an estimated $6.3M.  That included $3.9M from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), $1M from Economic Development Administration (EDA), $650k from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), and $318k each from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC) and the City of Bristow.

Estimated economic impacts of the projects were 71 direct & indirect jobs, a $2.6M payroll, and $7.1M in annual economic activity.  This impact was mainly driven by the large capital investments and the new consolidated turbine facility.  Bristow Regional Airport currently hosts 18 based aircraft (13 single engine, 3 multi engine, 2 helicopters).

The trio then flew over Wiley Post Airport in Oklahoma City where they performed an aerial inspection of the taxiway alpha project which would rehabilitate the primary runway’s parallel taxiway system.  The project included pavement maintenance (crack seal & seal coat, joint seal and spall repair), and upgrading the taxiway edge lights and guidance signs to LED equipment.  This was Phase Three of a six phase project to bring the airport’s pavement and electrical systems up to modern day design standards.

Total cost of the project was estimated at $3.5M which included $2.95M from FAA, $354k from the Oklahoma City Airport Trust, and $164k from OAC.  Estimated economic impacts of the project  would yield 1,636 direct & indirect jobs, a $79.5M payroll, and $188M annual economic activity.

Wiley Post serves as a reliever airport to Will Rogers International Airport and houses one of six FAA contract control towers in Oklahoma.  The airport is home to 350 or more based aircraft of which 83 are jets.

The tour traveled south to Tillman County where they toured the Frederick Airport to examine the runway project consisting of an asphalt overlay for the primary runway.  Total cost of the project was estimated at $5M paid for by the United States Air Force.  Sheppard Air Force Base used the airport as an auxiliary field for T-6 primary training.  

Estimated economic impacts for the project would yield 17.5 direct & indirect jobs, a $583k payroll, and $2.2M annual economic activity.  Frederick hosts 17 based aircraft of which 14 are single engine, 2 are multi engine, and 1 is a jet.

The trio concluded the tour at Max Westheimer Regional Airport to view the planned FY 2019 project to complete an asphalt overlay on the parallel taxiway systems of the primary and secondary runways.  Estimated project cost were $4.4M and included $4.0M from FAA, $212k each from OAC and the University of Oklahoma.  Estimated economic impacts were 394 direct & indirect jobs, a $16.6M payroll, and $37.5M in annual economic activity.  Westheimer is home of the University of Oklahoma aviation program and operates one of 6 FAA contract control towers in Oklahoma.  They host 110 based aircraft of which 7 are jets.

Bird said, “Senator Jim Inhofe is a champion for aviation and aerospace, not only to our state, but to our country.  Oklahoma is fortunate to have representation at the nation’s capital from a man who truly understand airport infrastructure, fiscal challenges of maintaining the Oklahoma Airport System, and the importance that his industry brings to the Oklahoma economy.”