Kearney Regional Airport Enplanements Up Two Years Running
Kearney Regional airport in Nebraska is seeing signs of a recovering economy, and is expecting over 10,000 enplanements in 2012 for the second year in a row. That number is significant because it guarantees the airport $1 million in grant money from the FAA. The airport has five years afterwards to spend on safety upgrades, navigational aids, runway lights, new pavement and similar projects.
Every year the FAA gives the airport $1 million in Airport Improvement Program funds if it reaches 10,000 enplanements. Below that number the airport receives $150,000. Jim Lynaugh, airport manager said May enplanements were up over last year’s figures. He also expects to see an 18 percent increase for this June over last June.
According to City Manager Mike Morgan’s monthly report, enplanements for May were 1,159, a 27 percent increase from May 2011’s 916 enplanements. Total Great Lakes enplanements for 2012 are 4,870, which is an 18 percent increase from 4,119 enplanements through May 2011. Previous to that, Kearney saw passenger volume decrease by 20 percent in 2010 due to the weak economy.
The airport got a boost in 2011 when Great Lakes Airlines ended flights from Grand Island to Denver. Kearney is one of two Nebraska airports with subsidized commuter flights eligible for FAA funding. Lynaugh hopes to put in a new firefighting rescue station. Two years ago the terminal was renovated with money from a special Kearney sales tax.