Falcon Field Airport

Corinne Nystrom, left, the director of Falcon Field Airport, presents airport projections at Airbase Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum

Falcon Field Airport in Mesa held the first of its three public workshops at the Airbase Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum to discuss its 2018 Airport Master Plan.

Airport tenants and residents of Maricopa County visited the museum March 27 to look at the business Falcon Field has brought in thus far, as well as potential projections of how many airplanes will fly in and out of the airport in the coming years.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires airports to produce master plans every seven to 10 years, according to airport director Corinne Nystrom, and the most recent plan is still in its initial phase.

“The master plan is designed to look into the future for the next 10 to 20 years to say, ‘What are the needs of the airport going to be?’ based upon aviation forecasts and what is anticipated to occur at Falcon Field in the next several years,” Nystrom said. “If there’s infrastructure improvements needed to accommodate that, we’re seeing what they might be.”

Matt Quick, a project manager for Coffman Associates, a local airport consulting company, said Falcon Field’s projections are focused on based aircrafts – permanent or semi-permanent homes for planes – as well as regular traffic in and out of the airport.

He said Falcon Field currently hosts 719 based airplanes. Given national aviation trends, regional demographics, socioeconomics and a variety of other factors,  the airport forecasts over 1,000 based airplanes within the next 20 years, increasing around 1.8 percent each year, he said.

Though Quick said that increase is not as high as other airports around the United States, it is important to look at the types of aircrafts coming in, not just the amount of them.

“In the past, it’s been flight training-heavy, a lot of flight schools and things like that. But they’re seeing an uptick in the number of corporate business flights and aircraft like that,” he said. “That’s something to take into consideration because usually that means they’re pouring money into the local economy, whether they are coming for business purposes or recreational purposes, they’ve got some disposable income to spend if they’re in a corporate jet.”

With plenty of land available to accommodate growth – nearly 784 acres total – Quick said that if a demand rises for space and services, Falcon Field should not have a problem expanding.

He said the owners of the based planes have been satisfied with the improvement of the airport and are looking forward to seeing what comes next with the master plan.

“We’re still in the first phase, but we’re thinking that with the support and projections we have, Falcon Field is in a pretty good spot for now,” he said.

Residents and those interested in the master plan process can attend the remaining two workshops, and a schedule can be found on falconfieldairport.com.

– Reach Eric Newman at 480-898-7915 or at enewman@timespublications.com.

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