But some of those choices require moving runways, and the airport can't move runways without an environmental impact study that includes public hearings for Mitchell's neighbors to comment on how the change would affect noise levels in the areas surrounding the airport, Bateman said.
"It's not a quick and dirty process," Bateman said. "We're going to move forward as quickly as we can."
Once a solution is chosen, the federal government will pay 75% of the cost, with the state and the airport evenly splitting the rest, Bateman said. Like other airport expenses, Mitchell's share would be covered by fees from airlines and other airport users, not taxpayers.
Sunday, the Northwest passengers may have been fortunate that the engine failure occurred a few seconds before takeoff, instead of a few seconds after. In the 1985 Midwest crash, an engine component failed 13 seconds after takeoff, when the jet, also a DC-9, was still trying to gain altitude.
"The question is if you have enough altitude to recover," come around and land, Hall said in a telephone interview from Chattanooga, Tenn.
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Federal officials insist on steps to ensure that airliners don't skid off runways into traffic on nearby streets.
Air freight company blames federal air traffic controllers for fiery ground collision between two planes at Mitchell International Airport.
The current $14.5 million system is focused only on runways. Two cargo planes collided last week at the intersection of three taxiways.