At its monthly meeting, the Commission awarded the grants through its five-year Airport Construction Program (ACP). The ACP is the method used by the Commission to determine where federal and state funds will be invested. These decisions for airport development are consistent with achieving the goals laid out in the Oklahoma Airport System Plan (OASP).
“Airports included in the OASP are functionally classified as regional business, district, or community. Although new to this position, I have worked for many years developing the OASP. Economic activity at the 108 airports in the Oklahoma Airport System are responsible for $10.6B of annual economic activity. Our mission is to meet the needs of the users of the system such as business aviation, aeromedical operations, flight training, and recreational flying. The Commission is pleased to provide Oklahoma communities with federal and state financial assistance to develop and maintain their local airports,” said State Director of Aeronautics, Grayson Ardies. “We maintain over 120 miles of runway in Oklahoma, and those runways, of which 45 are jet-capable, will connect people and products to just about anywhere in the world.”
The approved state grant for the Poteau Robert S. Kerr Airport project consists of installing a new Omni-Directional Approach Lighting System (ODALS) and will include a flight inspection on the ODALS. Based on bids, the total project cost is $178,117.55 and will be funded with $169,210 of state grant funds and $8,907.55 of sponsor matching funds.
The Statewide Aviation and Aerospace Economic Impact Study that the Commission published in 2017 showed the Poteau Municipal Airport has an annual economic activity of $2.3M.
Businesses that reported benefiting from the airport include Kelworth Trucking, Younger Aviation, Southern Star, Thompson & Thompson, Mitchell Rentals, Fat Albert’s Motorsports, Solid Rock Stone, and Ron’s Lumber.
The Robert S Kerr Airport also plays an important role in supporting area healthcare. Doctors from Oklahoma City fly to see patients at local clinics. Small hospitals are often not able to keep medical specialists on staff. Through services that are supported by the airport, healthcare services for residents in the airport’s market area are augmented. When time is of the essence, the airport can be used to transport critically ill or injured patients to advanced healthcare facilities either within or beyond the state. Air ambulance companies that utilize the airport include Tulsa Life Flight and Air Methods.
“Regional business airports like Poteau are the backbone of our state’s air transportation system and are located at the economic centers across the state,” Ardies said. “The Commission continues to focus the majority of federal and state funding on regional business and other airports that make significant economic contributions to the system.”
For more information about the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission programs and the Aviation Economic Impact Study results, visit oac.ok.gov/economic-impact.