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Indianapolis Regional Airport to handle heavier 'birds'

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The battle for supremacy between two of central Indiana's corporate-class airports is about to heat up like wheels upon landing—at least as far as runway size.

The Indianapolis Airport Authority on Feb. 17 approved a $231,000 contract with Springfield, Ill.-based Crawford Murphy & Tilly to design a 500-foot extension to Indianapolis Regional Airport’s main runway in Hancock County.

When completed, the runway will be 6,000 feet—500 feet longer than arch-rival Indianapolis Executive Airport near Zionsville.

The extension will give Indianapolis Regional, formerly known as Mount Comfort Airport, an operational edge, allowing aircraft to operate at higher takeoff weights and increasing fuel sales opportunities, according to Mike Medvescek, chief operating officer for the IAA.

The longer runway also will increase safety margins when the runway is icy or wet.

IAA’s Indianapolis Regional in recent years has found itself in more competition with the Hamilton County Airport Authority’s Indianapolis Executive Airport.

Hamilton County reconstructed Executive’s main runway courtesy of a $3.4 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant. Meanwhile, Montgomery Aviation, the fixed-base operator at Executive, has been building impressive new facilities to accommodate well-to-do corporate and private pilots.
 
IAA officials said construction should begin next year on the Indianapolis Regional runway, which will be extended west toward Mount Comfort Road.  IAA expects to receive federal grants that will pay for most of the project.

But Indianapolis Regional's runway supremacy might not last long. Hamilton County Airport Authority’s ambitious 20-year master plan for Executive calls for extending its primary runway 1,500 feet–to a total of 7,000 feet.

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