The first new runway constructed in more than a decade in the state of Mississippi will be unveiled at a celebratory ribbon cutting and aircraft fly-in at the Copiah County Airport on Saturday, November 1 at 10 a.m. The new 4,000 x 75-feet runway, with runway lights and pilot navigational aids, replaces an outdated 3,000-foot runway. Aircraft operators will benefit from the longer length and allows the airport to welcome more complex aircraft, according to Ronnie Barlow, County Administrator.
“Not only has our safety and operational capacity been improved with this new runway, but the economic impact opportunities to enhance our communities and county will have a tremendous long-term benefit.” he explained.
An airport fly-in will be hosted by the County and Grassroots Aviation, the airport’s Fixed Base Operator, along with a special ribbon cutting ceremony as part of the Saturday celebration.
Invited guests include the Copiah County Board of Supervisors; local community leaders; Rans Black, Manager of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) district office in Jackson; Tommy Booth, aeronautics director for the Mississippi Dept. of Transportation; Congressman Bennie D. Thompson (D), representing the 2nd District of Mississippi; and U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R) and Roger Wicker (R).
The new runway cost approximately $6 million for land acquisition, design and construction. The FAA paid 90 percent of the project cost with Copiah County and MDOT paying the remaining 10 percent.
Airport Development Group, Inc., Jackson, designed the new runway project and managed the construction activities; and Blaine Companies, Mount Olive, was the general contractor on the project. It is the first new airport runway construction since the 2003 opening of the new Tunica airport.
The Copiah County Airport is located approximately three miles northeast of Hazlehurst and four miles south of Crystal Springs off US Highway 51 on Lilly Lane at 1001 Airport Lane.