Tyler Pounds Regional Airport opens part of runway 4/22

Tyler Pounds Regional Airport opens part of runway 4/22
New runway opens at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas airport has made improvements to a runway that may expand the kinds of air traffic utilizing the airport.

The Tyler Pounds Regional Airport completed phase three of their runway 4/22 rehabilitation project by opening part of the runway.

"The key is also having that runway capable of carrying much larger aircraft for the weight, so where it was asphalt, now it's fourteen inches of concrete. So that makes a big difference in what the airport can be capable of doing in the future," airport manager Davis Dickson says.

Over five thousand feet of the runway was opened today. Dickson says the extended runway will benefit current and future travelers.

"Well, it opens up all kinds of new opportunities for Smith County and the East Texas area, with having the potential for freight, larger commercial flights, [and] flights that can go further lengths out of the airport. There's just quite a list of things it can help with, and it's all part of the growth of this airport," he says.

So far the project has cost $45,000,000. Ninety percent of costs were covered by grant money, including a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. Airport officials celebrated the opening Monday with the runway's first airplane take off.

"It was exciting for me, just like opening up this terminal building was exciting, and I kind of ran some chills down my back because we've worked so hard for the past several years," he says.

Dickson says he expects the full runway to be open fall of this year.

Copyright 2018 KLTV. All rights reserved.