The Huntingburg Regional Airport is celebrating the completion of a runway expansion project that has already opened the door for an increase in business aviation. Members of the community joined state and local officials last week for the airport’s ribbon cutting ceremony and even got the opportunity to cruise the newly paved and lengthened runway.
The project included the expansion of their runway from 5,000 feet long to 5,501 feet long and from 75 feet wide to 100 feet wide. The runway lengthening also included Indiana’s first tunnel in a public airport for cars to pass through.
“The extension and widening of Runway 9/27 at Huntingburg Airport is the most important infrastructure project in the southwest region of Indiana in 2021,” said Marty Blake, Manager of the INDOT Office of Aviation. “This project was the first of its kind in the State of Indiana where a local road was tunneled for a runway.”
Blake said the partnerships between local, state, and federal officials were critical in keeping the project on track during the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic. “Even though the road being closed was a county road, INDOT has tunnel and bridge oversight for projects of this magnitude. Airport users can now fully load their aircraft with fuel purchased at Huntingburg, flying non-stop to their destination due to the increased runway length provided by this extension.”
Airport Manager Travis McQueen said the completion of the project has had an immediate impact, noting that a Falcon 20 used the airfield. The Airport Authority owns and operates the FBO, noted McQueen, which gives them immediate feedback on fuel sales. “It’s encouraging.”
The longer runway will also benefit businesses with based aircraft, allowing them to take on more fuel and have greater options when considering their fleet mix. This includes the companies McQueen refers to as the Big 5 – Kimball International, MasterBrand Cabinets, Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Best Home Furnishings and OFS Brands.
Jim Hunsicker, president of the Dubois County Airport Authority (DCAA), stated, “this is a great opportunity for the public to see firsthand the most important mile of pavement in the region.” He continued, “this project was years in the making and the foresight of airport board members from the past, but only comes with the important partnerships of the FAA, INDOT and our two partner contractors Weddle Brothers from Evansville and Appalachian Foothills Contracting from Lexington, KY.”