VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Construction to expand Valdosta Regional Airport could get underway in about a month.
The project would nearly triple the size of the airport apron, allowing the airport to accommodate two regional jets and a Boeing 737 all at the same time.
Valdosta city council will vote on Thursday whether to approve two resolutions that will allow the airport authority to enter into a grant agreement with the FAA and GDOT to help pay for the project.
Airport Manager Jim Galloway said this project is critical for the future of the airport.
"Even with the fifty seat regional jets, it's very close quarters, if you will, when they come in to park," Galloway explained. "This will basically open us up for the next twenty years, if you will, for whatever size airplane the airlines decide to bring in."
The grant from the FAA would cover 90% of the project cost, the grant from GDOT would cover 5% of the project cost, and the remaining 5% "comes from funds that are generated when people fly out of Valdosta on the airlines," said Galloway.
Valdosta-Lowndes Tourism Authority Executive Director Tim Riddle said in a phone interview with WALB that the airport's expansion is also vital to helping maintain and hopefully grow the number of companies and organizations that come to Valdosta and host meetings and events at the conference center.
"It makes us that much more attractive. It allows us to expand the possible pool of business that we can go after," Riddle explained.
Galloway hopes to start the first phase of the project in October and have it completed by Christmas and then complete the final two phases by sometime in mid-2016.