Mike Matthews, airport manager of the Richard B. Russell airport, met with the transportation committee of the chamber of commerce yesterday morning to discuss adding 1000 ft to the runway at county airport.

This could have significant economic impact on the local airport. The airport currently supports 19,000 lbs of duel wheel landing and the extension would increase the type of planes permitted to land, which could result in an estimated 150% increase in fuel sales.

Not only does the extension benefit the annual airshow, the estimated number one attraction according to sources, but it would also allow larger planes and jets to land. Aside from the annual airshow, the Rome area hosts many events yearly that attract large crowds including the Tennis tournaments, NAIA football tournament, and other tourist attracting events. These events often land groups of people in the traffic filled Atlanta area and are required to bus people from Atlanta to Rome. The strip extension would allow certain groups to land people at the local airport and avoid Atlanta air traffic, road traffic, and logistical issues. The additional landing space would extend runway space to 7,000 ft., compared to Chattanooga’s Lovell Field at 7,400 ft. and Chicago’s Midway International airport at 6,522 ft.

Overall, the extension would serve to increase traffic bringing more fuel sales, greater accessibility to the Rome area, avoidance of Atlanta air and road traffic, and attraction to possible commercial and private attention.
Other notes from the meeting included discussion of this years airshow featuring the Blue Angels f22s. Rumor circulated that the newest military plane, the f35, may be declassified to make its first public appearance within the next months, and may be on site for Rome’s airshow.