TVC Continues Runway Improvements

Orange barrel season is upon us all – our roads throughout the region are under construction. The season is similar at our region’s airport as grant funding has been released, enabling our team to begin our final phase – a $13,914,056 Runway 10 project.

Runway 10-28 is the primary runway at Cherry Capital Airport and the plan to extend the runway has been the key element of a master plan concept since 1966. Phase one of the project took place in 2013 with a 400-foot extension to the east costing $4,161,038; phase 2 kicked off Aug. 7, 2017 with a 115-foot extension to the west and to repave the entire runway for a total project of just over $18 million.

Why? The purpose of this project is to extend the runway to meet the operational needs of the current aircraft that utilize TVC. Capacity is the justification used to extend the runway as passengers are displaced on hot summer days. When aircraft depart under hot temperatures, performance is affected by the density of the air. Hot air is less dense so aerodynamic capabilities are affected requiring a longer runway; therefore the number of passengers and the amount of cargo are restricted to the runway length. Also, the age of the runway is 24 years old and needs to be replaced, meaning the runway will be milled and repaved. This project transitioned the runway from 6,500 feet to 7,015 feet.

The airport team has been working with the public, airlines, general aviation tenants, FAA, United States Coast Guard and Northwestern Michigan College to determine the needs of today and the future of aircraft operations at Cherry Capital Airport. This project maximizes the land within the current airport and does not impact Garfield Road. As the airport embarks on this journey, our community will have a new airport: in 2004 the airline terminal was replaced; the north-south runway was repaved in 2015; now the east-west runway will be completed at a time when infrastructure is key to long-term success. TVC is an airport that prides itself to be modern and up-to-date and not anything less than the most appealing welcome mat and last memory of a region, unlike many airports throughout the United States.

This project is funded by passengers that fly out of TVC. NO LOCAL TAX DOLLARS ARE RECEIVED by Cherry Capital Airport. The formula returns a portion of the ticket tax dollars paid by the passenger that flies from TVC to TVC! This is why it is so important to fly from TVC, as your choice to fly from TVC returns passenger dollars to sustain infrastructure that supports nearly $1 billion in annual economic impact to our region.

Our schedule is very fast-paced to ensure our community is minimally impacted during construction. Team Elmer’s has taken on this challenge and we are very excited. Beginning Sept. 5, Runway 10-28 will be shortened to begin grading the safety areas, and then Sept. 14 to Sept. 29 the runway will be closed. The North/South runway will remain open and the airline schedule will continue to operate with weight restrictions. When the the runway is reopened, the final phases will be completed during night hours, which includes grooving and painting the runway and the development of the approach lighting similar to the lights off Three Mile Road.

Please use the airport app for the latest information regarding flight updates as you travel during this period. Remember for your connection to the world.

Kevin Klein is the director of Cherry Capital Airport.