Texarkana Regional Airport is on its way toward big change, with the plans for two major projects underway.
Stephen Luebbert, airport director, said the first and most important project is the replacement of the primary runway.
“The runway is at 15 years of age and we have gotten our money’s worth out of it,” said Leubbert.
They plan to start work on it as soon as they settle on a contractor and plan for work to be finished on the runway approximately by November or December.
“Now it is just a matter of down selecting a contractor and closing the runway,” said Leubbert.
“When the runway closes, we’re proposing to open it during the day, because our airline can’t use the other runway,” said Leubbert, “We’re all working at night for four or five months as zombies and hopefully we’ll come back into the sunshine by December.”
“Without the upgrade, the airport will close, because the runway is failing. The airlines can’t run the risk of a blown tire or an aircraft losing directional control on roll out.”
The renovation of the runway is planned to start mid-July to early August.
The other renovation that is in progress around the same time as the runway is the renovation of the interior of the terminal.
“Ever since 9/11, and all the increased security with aviation, there is more X-ray equipment more scanners and more sniffers that are looking for explosive powders and it takes up a lot of room and is all in the wrong place,” said Leubbert, “So the intent is to not only relocate this in a way that gives our customers a little more space to move around in, but also upgrade the aesthetics.”
Since the terminal was built around the late 50s, Leubbert said the interior “looks a little tired.”
The renovation in the terminal will start around November and take up to six months to complete.
Luebbert also has plans for a whole new terminal, with a lodge look.
“I want to create a new terminal that has an “Oh wow” factor,” said Leubbert.
Leubbert said that by this time next year, there will be a new primary runway, new terminal interior, and the beginning of their work on the new terminal.
“We’re right on the threshold of really growing and moving forward, and I just want to keep the push. I don’t want to relax,” said Leubbert, “If I do, I’m afraid all the energy that I’m storing into this will be dissipated and for some reason it won’t happen.”