GULF SHORES — Work will start on improvements at the Gulf Shores Airport soon but plans for commercial airlines starting service may wait until spring, Airport Authority Manager Scott Fuller …
GULF SHORES — Work will start on improvements at the Gulf Shores Airport soon but plans for commercial airlines starting service may wait until spring, Airport Authority Manager Scott Fuller said Tuesday, July 12.
The Gulf Shores City Council voted Monday, July 11, to approve improvements using funds from an $804,775 Federal Aviation Administration grant. The Airport Authority and the state of Alabama will each pay $44,709 to bring the total for the project to $894,194, according to city reports.
Fuller said the city is also moving forward with plans to start commercial airline flights, but the services may start in 2023 instead of the fall of 2022 as announced in April.
"It's what's happening all over," Fuller said. "They're short of pilots, and they're pulling back right now."
He said city and airport officials still expect the service to start in early 2023.
"As things go, when you look at us, we're the prime target, which is leisure travel," Fuller said. "Business is not coming back as fast, but the leisure market is improving, and we still expect someone to be here in the spring."
He said four airlines are talking to Gulf Shores officials about starting services in upcoming months.
The work approved Monday will include new lights on the main taxiway and design work for the terminal.
"This is going toward two projects. One is the replacement of the taxiway lights for the taxiway light system for taxiway Alpha," Fuller said. "That's the parallel taxiway to the long east-west runway and $84,000 to reimburse us for money we spent for the environmental for the new terminal."
Gulf Shores officials are working to build a new terminal at the airport north of the Intracoastal Waterway in preparation for the commercial airline flights planned for the area. The FAA grant will pay some of the costs for site preparation work for the new terminal.
When completed, the permanent terminal will include six ticket counters, a TSA area, a holding area and two gates.
A temporary terminal will be built to serve passengers until the permanent facility is completed. That terminal will have one security station with space for a second site when it is needed, according to city reports.