Airport receives grant to meet federal requirements

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Jan. 30, 2012 at 4:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 29, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.

Victoria Regional Airport is undergoing more than $200,000 worth of federally required improvements.

Part of that money for airport projects involved the Victoria County Commissioners Court, on Monday, approving a resolution and a matching grant agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for a wildlife hazard assessment, one of several Federal Aviation Administration requirements.

The TxDOT grant covers $90,000 of the wildlife hazard assessment, while the county pays a 10 percent matching amount of $10,000. The assessment report will be on the level of danger that wildlife such as birds and other animals present to aircraft.

Airport Manager Jason Milewski said it is one of two major requirements the FAA is calling for so the airport can continue commercial service with Continental Airlines.

Milewski said the price tag is not atypical.

"Some years, we might not have to do anything or just some minor things," he said. "It could range from zero to several hundred thousand dollars."

The other project calls for renumbering runways, repainting hold markings, signs and lighting.

"Usually these are the result of an accident somewhere," he said. The FAA then asks, how could this have been prevented.

Last week, commissioners approved a $128,689 contract with F.&W. Electrical Contractors for those improvements.

As magnetic north shifts, and it moves a little every year, airports have to renumber their runways, Milewski said.

Victoria Regional Airport's main runway, 12 Left, lets pilots know to fly at 120 degrees north.

While the physical runway has remained in place, magnetic north has shifted, so the runway will become 13 Left, letting pilots know to fly at 130 degrees north to line up with the runway, he said.

The project will have a public hearing March 22 and will go up for approval before the Texas Transportation Commission April 26.

According to the FAA's website and the Part 139 Airport Operating Certificate, requirements have not been revised since 1987.

In 2000, Congress mandated that FAA issue a rule relating to certification of airports serving scheduled passenger air carrier operations conducted in aircraft with 10 to 30 seats, except Alaska.

In response, FAA revised the regulation to the following: Address outdated safety requirements; clarify several existing requirements; respond to petitions for exemption and rulemaking about emergency response preparedness; address National Transportation Safety Board recommendations; allow regulation of airports serving small carrier operations; and revise the existing airport certification process.



Powered By AffectDigitalMedia