Plan gives airport facility

hope for more development

Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field is a community asset worth nurturing. Sizable public investments have been made at the facility through the years, and significant upgrades have allowed it to remain a viable centerpiece for economic development in the region.

It hasn’t been easy, of course. Once upon a time, the airport bustled with activity as passenger planes flew in and out several times a day, an air-freight operation made it a shipping hub, and the 181st Fighter Wing and its fleet of F-16s provided flash and fanfare. Times changed, however, and usage decreased through the years while airport officials tried to find new ways to stimulate activity.

Despite long-standing challenges, local officials are staying focused on the future and working on making the airport better and more productive for the community and its taxpayers.

Last week, airport officials unveiled improvement plans they hope will revitalize interest and usage of airport facilities. Included in the plan is an exterior upgrade to a terminal building, conversion of a runway into a taxiway that will allow the addition of more hangars and business development, and the addition of a non-scheduled public charter passenger service.

Each element to the plan is important, but the runway renovation and conversion holds great potential for business development on site. “Our ultimate goal is we are looking for new industry,” said Jeff Hauser, the airport’s executive director.

The more than $3.8 million runway project will be done in phases over the next three years and paid for mostly by the Federal Aviation Administration.

We applaud airport officials and the board for continuing efforts to make the facility viable for aviation and business development. The airport is a resource that requires ongoing attention and support.