Thinking Aloud: Airport a lifeline to growing community

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The airport runway is the most important main street in any town.

Norm Crabtree

Airports are a major force in any local or regional economy with an impact that goes well beyond the airport fence.

Jobs, business relocation, hotel construction, sales taxes and general economic growth are just a few of the areas our community is directly impacted by having an airport located here. And the airport impacts our community in ways that simply cannot be duplicated by other methods or factors.

Shelby County&8217;s airport, located just off Interstate 65, is a key part of our community&8217;s economic engine.

Recent news that a new flight school is being established at the airport is more good news that the airport is vibrant and expanding.

Sanders Aviation, who operates an aviation business at Walker County&8217;s Bevill Field, will be creating the flight school here.

The Shelby County airport is vital to the social and economic development of our community so having it run efficiently is of critical importance to those that rely on it for either business or pleasure.

That&8217;s where we can be thankful that the county&8217;s leadership has taken such a proactive approach to its responsibilities at the airport.

Certainly, the Shelby County airport plays an irreplaceable role in the recruitment of new industry and the retention of existing ones. The fact is, business relies on good transportation to function. No matter the goods or services, having access to reliable and quality air transportation is important, and the hard truth in today&8217;s competitive world is that every advantage matters.

No doubt, businesses will chose one location over another based on a myriad of factors, and one on the top of many lists is the convenience and ease of air transportation.

Our county&8217;s leadership is doing the things required to leverage the local airport to better serve the community &045;&045;

steps such as making investments to extend and resurface the runway, putting in place customer-focused management and generally putting the needs of the airport and those it serves on the front burner.

We should all be thankful for their stewardship