Airport creates final runway design

Realignment will allow for fewer canceled flights, executive director says

Airport+Executive+Director+Tony+Bean+showcases+a+chart+for+a+proposed+airport+extension+at+the+airport+board+meeting+Wednesday+at+the+Pullman-Moscow+Regional+Airport.

STEPHEN MURNANE | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Airport Executive Director Tony Bean showcases a chart for a proposed airport extension at the airport board meeting Wednesday at the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport.

RACHEL SUN, Evergreen reporter

The final design process for runway changes at the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport are underway, and airport staff hope improvements will help reduce the number of missed flights due to weather.

“We’re going to get the best system we can possibly get here,” said Executive Director Tony Bean at an airport board meeting Wednesday. “It’s hard to sit in the office when it disrupts people’s’ traveling plans.”

This year the airport had 16 canceled flights due to weather, Bean said. That might not sound like a lot, but for many leaving the area it can make a big difference because later flights are often filled up on smaller planes, eliminating the option to simply take the next flight.

The new runway will include improved technology to allow planes with the complementary system to land with less visibility. Those include planes from Alaska Airlines, the biggest source of traffic for the airport.

“We’ll still have cancellations for fog,” Bean said, “but they will be minimal.”

In addition to runway redesigns, the New designs will also include an underground stormwater retention system for water coming from the runway. That water will be treated according to standards set by the Department of Ecology, and released.

The underground retention pond will leave space open for the runway, and avoid attracting waterfowl near the planes.

“We need as much developmental space as we can get,” Bean said. “We don’t need a pond.”

Board members also discussed challenges the airport faced from the federal shutdown, and concerns over what might happen if it were to continue in two and a half weeks. There were costs to the airport, Bean said, but he is not sure exactly how significant.

“We can’t quantify them yet, and we may not be able to quantify them,” he said.

In addition to the runway realignment, the airport is now adding the option to pre-check baggage. The service will be available March 4 through March 8. Enrollment times will be Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Then, Friday from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Applicants can also pre-enroll online at identogo.com/tsaprecheck. The application process will require a U.S. Passport, or certified birth certificate and a driver’s license.

For those who still have travel plans, especially during winter months, Bean said the best thing to avoid travel mishaps is to arrive early.

“[If] something happens with your travel reservation, you have the opportunity to have a one-on-one with someone for real and not over the phone,” he said. “That is huge when you’re trying to make travel plans.”