HUNTSVILLE, Ala., (MMD Newswire) July 9, 2013 -- After a year-long $27.8 million improvement project, Huntsville International Airport (HSV) has reopened its west runway along with adjacent taxiways. Improvements made to the west airfield meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements to operate Panalpina's 747-8 freighters, which are classified as Group VI aircraft.
"Huntsville International Airport is part of a small group of U.S. airports that have been FAA-certified to support these 747-8s," said Carl Gessler, Jr., M.D., Huntsville-Madison County Airport Authority (HMCAA) board chairman. "We share this distinction with cities like Miami, New York, L.A., and Chicago. Considering the size of our community as compared to the others on the list, this truly is an accomplishment for our region."
APAC Mid-South, Inc. was the prime contractor for this airport project. Total capital improvements on the west airfield included:
- Expanding paved shoulders on the runways to 35 feet
- Expanding paved shoulders on the taxiways to 40 feet
- Widening full-strength pavement on west taxiway to 82 feet
- Rejuvenating existing asphalt on the runway and taxiways
- Redesigning the turn radius for the taxiways
- Upgrading eco-friendly LED signage on taxiways and runways
- Upgrading eco-friendly LED lighting on taxiways
- Implementing new airfield lighting control system
"Most people are amazed to learn that our airport is the 14th largest international air cargo airport in the U.S. and this is due to our partnership with Panalpina," said Rick Tucker, HMCAA executive director. "The new west runway and taxiway system gives Huntsville the infrastructure it needs to continue growth in global transportation and to strengthen the regional economy." HSV has already started the process to secure funding for upgrades to the east airfield, which would make the entire airport compatible for Group VI 747-8 aircraft.