Airport to keep name

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

COVINGTON -- The Covington Municipal Airport will keep its name.

The Covington City Council had discussed changing the name to Atlanta-Covington Municipal Airport for economic development purposes. Airport Engineer Vincent Passariello told the council earlier this month that including the word Atlanta in the name would put the airport toward the top of the list when aviators search for airports in the Atlanta area. Often, pilots will go to aviation Web search engines and type in the name of the largest city in the area, he said.

However, Passariello said Monday night that the same goal could be accomplished by changing the associated city designation for the airport from Covington to Atlanta. The council approved a resolution notifying the Federal Aviation Administration of the desired change.

The resolution also states the council's wish to change the airport's location identifier from 9A1 to a three-letter location identifier including the letters CVC. According to Passariello, the one letter identifier is used for airports with runways under 5,000 feet and without a weather station. Covington no longer falls into that category, he said.

"It's time to move into the big leagues," he said.

The council also agreed to petition Congressman Austin Scott, R-Ga., to intervene with the Army Corps of Engineers on the city's behalf. According to Passariello, the city was notified by the corps in December that its application for a permit needed for improvements to the southeast apron was denied.

The corps has jurisdiction due to the presence of wetlands and streams in the area. Two types of permits are available. A nationwide permit is allowed when half an acre of wetlands and/or 300 feet of streams have been impacted. Nationwide permits are fairly easy to obtain. The more complicated individual permit, required due to more impact, can take more than a year and cost up to $500,000, according to Passariello.

The city was notified in December that a request for a nationwide permit was denied and an individual permit must be filed. This was due to extension of the runway from 3,000 to 4,200 feet in 1987, during which time the city filled about 2.2 acres of reservoir regulated by the corps. Passariello said it seems unfair that the city is being penalized for activity that took place nearly 25 years ago.

Finally, Airport Authority Chairman John Howard gave an update on the authority's progress since its appointment in late February. The authority has met four times, has elected officers and set its regular meeting time as 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the airport terminal building.

A lease with Standridge Color Corp. for a new 12,000-square-foot hangar was signed in early April and the authority has been approached by another party interested in building a 2,500-square-foot hangar, Howard said.

Standridge is negotiating on a $5 million Challenger jet that it plans to house in the hangar.

"This is bringing a $5 million plane onto the tax rolls. Can you imagine how many houses you would have to build to make up for that," Howard said, adding that the jet "does not require anything from the schools" or use city infrastructure.