Airport lands long-term lease, anticipates another

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The Carroll County Airport Commission received more good news regarding the airport’s financial future. At Friday’s meeting, the commissioners heard that payment has been received on a new ground lease, and another prospect may soon sign a lease.

The virtual meeting began a few minutes late, as late arrivals navigated the Zoom platform. Once a quorum was established, commissioners heard that the airport has received a check for $22,000 to pay a ground lease for Walt Kenyon. He expects to have his hangar completed by the end of summer.

The commission has also been in negotiations with Chad Doyle, who plans to build a large hangar. The airport has to find another location for Doyle’s proposed hangar, after deeper research showed that part of his proposed building would be too close to the runway.

20-year plan in the works

Commissioners heard a lengthy presentation from Eric Pfeifer, who represented the engineering firm working on a new Airport Layout Plan. He said the plan is more than halfway done and asked for feedback. Airport Manager Michael Pfeifer (no relation) outlined plans for the next 20 years, during which time he expects the number of aircraft based at the airport to grow from 34 to 56. Most of those planes will continue to be powered by piston engines, although the number of turbine engines will grow.

The ALP outlines some plans to extend the runway from the present 3,600 feet. Adding another 400 feet to the west end of the runway would allow more turbine planes.

A more ambitious plan to extend the runway to 4,500 feet is under consideration, although extending the runway would require acquisition of more property for a Runway Protection Zone. Any plans to lengthen the runway would focus on the western end because the land slopes down sharply on the eastern end. Extending to the east would also require re-routing a county road.

Eric Pfeifer shared drawings suggesting possible locations for the new hangars he said the airport will need. He asked commissioners to look over the presentation and send him questions and comments. A draft of the final report should be ready by the end of summer.

Fuel sales ticking up

Michael Pfeifer said the airport has sold a lot of fuel lately. The airport makes 84 cents per gallon at the current rate of $2.99 per gallon. In response to a question about raising the price to keep pace with demand, Pfeifer said the commission has set fuel prices to make a profit of 25 to 30 percent. The current profit of 84 cents, or 28 percent, falls in the middle of that range.

The airport will soon have to purchase another 8,000 gallons, with an anticipated cost of $2.75 per gallon, bumping the price at the pump to $3.50 per gallon.

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