Soldotna’s airport expands

After strong years of expansion, rehabilitation and construction projects, Soldotna is planning to devise a new list of improvements for its airport.
This summer, the city received a Federal Aviation Administration grant for updating the list of capital projects with a new master plan.
Soldotna Municipal Airport Manager Kyle Kornelis said the appropriations will fund initial studies to layout a plan for future projects. The process will take about two years.
Kornelis said the 50-year-old airport is in a very active phase. He met with the FAA last week to discuss pending grant money for future projects and progressing the scope of the master plan.
The airport is between phase two and phase three of an apron area expansion project, which includes the development of existing lease lots and pavement rehabilitation, runway and taxi lane striping, Kornelis said. The second part finished up early this summer, and the bulk of which was completed last fall, Kornelis said.
The lease lots are not yet available for purchasing until the final platting process is complete, Kornelis said.
Phase three of the apron expansion project will continue either late fall or early spring next year, dependent on pending grant money from the FAA, Kornelis said.
The funds will go directly toward rehabilitation of asphalt and extending the apron areas, which will lead to more available hanger space for leasing.
The apron expansion was part of the most recent airport master plan, completed in 2004, Kornelis said. Many of the projects on that list have been completed, but it is time for a new one, he said.
Ten years ago the city population was projected to increase from 3,700 residents to over 6,000 by 2020, and took the growth into account during its planning process, according to the 2004 master plan.
Privately funded hangars are going up around the airport perimeter, Kornelis said. The amount of fixed based operators and general aviation use is continuing to increase.
“It is exciting for the airport to be so busy,” Kornelis said.
Kelly Sullivan is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion.