City Commission Receives Airport Update

New Airport Director Russ Johnson gave the City Commission an upbeat report on the Manhattan Airport at Tuesday's meeting.

Here is his report:

The Manhattan Regional Airport is continuing to experience constant growth and opportunities. This report is an update on current and upcoming projects that are funded through the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program, the Transportation Security Administration, (TSA), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Defense and Department of Transportation. Present applications, funding amounts and issues are:

1. Small Community Air Service Development Pilot Program: Manhattan was selected as one of 40 communities nationwide under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR 21) to help smaller communities enhance their air service. On June 26, 2002, we were notified of a $388,350 grant that was approved to assist the airport regarding both improvements to existing service but to also foster competition and develop additional air service to a westbound hub airport such as Denver International. A grant offer to formally accept the funds is planned for September 3, 2002. (See Attachment)

2. City of Manhattan/Ft. Riley Joint-Use Agreement: We are presently staffing a joint-use and lease agreement for construction of additional ramp space for use by Ft. Riley for major deployments/redeployments of military personnel and equipment. A funding request of $4.9 million dollars is being considered for FY03. If appropriated, construction could occur as early as Spring 2003. We have also applied for a special economic development initiative HUD grant in the amount of $240,000 that can be used for design costs of this project. This grant was authorized by Congress in the 2002 appropriations for Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and other federal agencies. A proposed layout of the ramp project is attached.

3. Runway 21 Safety Area Study: This grant was approved to look at runway drainage problems, obstacles (berm) in the safety area. A safety area is a 1000' long by 250' wide that is mandated by FAA in the event an aircraft lands short or overruns the paved surface when landing. Our consultant has submitted the report to FAA for comments and we are still awaiting a final determination from FAA to determine estimated costs to address relocating the berm and FAA owned localizer equipment or displacing the landing threshold of Runway 21 400' feet to meet the 1000' criteria. We have also requested through the Corps of Engineers to reinitiate a flood control study that would not only address the drainage problem on the airport but the entire Eureka Valley watershed.

4. Airport Equipment/Wildlife Control Fencing: Requests for bids was publishing for the procurement of an Aircraft De-icer Vehicle, Aircraft Passenger Boarding Stairs, and construction of 8000' linear fence for wildlife control/security fence. This project is an FAA eligible project for this fiscal year and based on bids received on August 29, 2002, is estimated to be a $500,000 grant which would be 90% federal/10% local funding match. This equipment is vital for the airport due to the ever-increasing charter activity from Ft. Riley and Kansas State University sports charters. The fence is a start to meet probable and future security needs around the perimeter of the airport as a result of 9/11.

5. Passenger Screenings: Lockhead-Martin contractor for the Transportation Security Agency’s (TSA) Strategic Airport Security Rollout (SSAR) program assessed the Manhattan Regional Airport August 12-14, 2002. As a result of this assessment, Lockhead-Martin will recommend security checkpoint layout parameters of the passenger security screening process. These parameters may or may not require structural changes within the terminal building. Passenger screening began Saturday, August 23, 2002, with the installation of x-ray and metal detectors. More information regarding the need for structural changes will be known at a later date as the TSA and its representatives finalize the passenger security aspects.

If the commissioners have any questions regarding these projects and issues, I will be pleased to answer them at this time.