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Decatur’s Pryor Field set to soar

TANNER — A “hidden gem,” Pryor Field Regional Airport is planning major upgrades and expansion to support Limestone County, the fastest growing county in the state.

Among the plans are a taxiway to help accommodate Boeing 737s and C-130s as well as more hangars.

The airport is one of the busiest general aviation airports in Alabama, serving national, corporate, and private aircraft as well as cargo operations, the Pryor Field Airport Authority said. The authority has recently dedicated two areas totaling more than 100 acres for development.

“Pryor Field is a hidden gem in North Alabama with ample development opportunities,” Airport Manager Adam Fox said. “This year we are set to start development on the northwest and southeast of the airport to support business aviation and Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul facilities.”

The northwest development will include a taxiway and apron to the north of the airport’s existing terminal building, Fox said. This area has been allocated for overflow transient traffic, cargo operations, and “red-dirt ready” sites for private hangars such as charter operations or individual aircraft owners.

“With the huge growth in North Alabama, more specifically the Huntsville Metro, we are seeing a lot of interest in hangar space and sites for long-term ground leases,” said Fox.

Once complete, the 188,000-square-foot taxiway and apron addition can support as many as eight hangar facilities. Currently Pryor Field’s wait list for hangar options is more than 100.

The Authority’s southeast development is more than 80 acres and is set to attract MRO facilities.

“We have been working to get this property ready for companies to come in and develop facilities that could support hundreds of local jobs,” Fox said. “We have had a lot of interest so far, even with little to no advertisement. So far this year, we have started the design phase of the taxiway that will allow this property access to Runway 36.

“This development will be designed to accommodate larger aircraft such as the Boeing 737s and C-130s.”

Other projects are underway to provide required utilities and infrastructure to support development.

Pryor Field less than 10 miles from Huntsville International Airport, allowing it to serve as a natural reliever and gateway for business traffic.

With Redstone Arsenal 17 miles east of Pryor Field, defense contractors could turn their eyes toward the airport as well, the authority said.

“Our Master Plan study, being wrapped up by Goodwyn Mills Cawood, provided the authority with a plan to separate our corporate/transient and cargo operations from our general aviation operations,” said Authority Chairman Nathan Fowler. “We were able to allocate nearly 85 acres of existing airport property for future MRO development as well,”

The authority owns and operates Pryor Flight Center, which allows them to control the customer experience.

“We have the best employees in the business! We strive to provide the best customer experience possible with extremely competitive pricing,” Fox said.

In 2019 the Authority took over the FBO and is currently a Titan Aviation fuel provider.

“Our 7,200-square-foot terminal is state-of-the-art and serves our communities as the front door to North Alabama and the Tennessee Valley,” Fox said.

The authority is working with local officials and economic development teams to bring more of the aviation industry to North Alabama.

“Everything we do is a partnership, and we can’t be successful in diversifying our jobs and economy without working together,” Fox said. “We have a great relationship with the cities and counties as well as the economic development teams, and believe Pryor Field is an asset to North Alabama and the Tennessee Valley, even more so with these upcoming developments.”

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