Tuscaloosa National Airport granted $4.2 M for improvements

The Tuscaloosa National Airport has $4.2 million for new improvements this week, thanks to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Earlier this week, the Tuscaloosa Airport Advisory Committee met with the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and the Economic Development Authority for a discussion on the progress toward bringing commercial service back to TPL, and that FAA grant will go a long way toward making that happen.

Volaire Aviation Consulting Director Will Berchelmann presented a walk-through on how the city can best market to airlines looking for expansion opportunities.

“We’re trying to turn Tuscaloosa from a dot to a star on the map,” said Berchelmann.

The committee’s goal is to find data that supports the idea of Tuscaloosa as a marketable location for commercial service.

One major boon for the area? The University of Alabama’s large out-of-state student population, adding to potential demand.

Currently, the closest airport that offers commercial flights is Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, a nearly hour-long drive from Tuscaloosa.

Statewide, the FAA granted Alabama $17.8 million for airport improvements.

Tuscaloosa’s $4.2 million grant will go toward making apron improvements at the airport, including improvements to an area that supports more than 300 large charter crafts and cargo operations a year.

“The pavement reconstruction funded by this grant will secure the next 25-35 years of operations and the continuing support of the industrial and large aircraft needs in the community,” said Airport Director Jeff Powell in a statement.

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