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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2012 sees airport activity increase

Monday, January 7, 2013

The only signage at the Monett Regional Airport in place recognizing the contributions of Jack Fox, following the designation of Fox Field in November, has been the renaming of the entrance driveway by the main sign as "Stearman Lane," honoring Fox's biplane that became his trademark. The main sign will add the "regional" designation after state charts, maps and publications complete the name change. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff] [Order this photo]
Flights in and out of the Monett Regional Airport showed an increase for 2012, according to numbers released by Airport Superintendent Howard Frazier.

Aircraft activity is documented weekdays during business hours. Early and late weekday flights and weekend activity represent significant additions are not tallied in the total.

For the months of October through December 2012, planes flown by Jack Henry and Associates and EFCO, a Pella company, made 351 flights. It was the highest number of flights by Monett's two industries for the quarter since records started being kept in 2005, up 90 flights or 35 percent from a year ago.

Monett Airport Superintendent Howard Frazier stands by the entrance to the terminal building at the Monett Regional Airport, where a photo collage and a plaque in honor of Jack Fox have been placed. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff] [Order this photo]
Other business flights also saw a record total. With the reclassification of instruction flights as business, the total number of business flights reached 523 for the quarter, topping the old record of 419 recorded in 2005. The total was more than double the number of flights recorded a year ago.

Total documented business flights for the quarter added up to 874, another record, topping the high mark of 720 from 2005. The total is up 390 flights or 80 percent from a year ago.

The reclassification of training flights significantly lowered the non-business flight totals.

A new "Welcome to Monett" sign, provided by Phillips Petroleum, was mounted this fall on the fence to the west entrance off the taxiway to the terminal building at the Monett Regional Airport. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff] [Order this photo]
Flights by planes hangared by private owners not considered business activity totaled 202 for the quarter. The total was higher than the 143 in 2009 at the low point of the economic downturn, but the lowest total in three years, down 52 flights or 21 percent from a year ago.

Pleasure flights by planes not based in Monett, also impacted by the training flight reclassification, totaled 261 for the quarter, the lowest number in the eight years records have been kept. The total was down 58 percent from a year ago.

For the quarter, the grand total of all recorded flights was 1,432, up 5 percent from a year ago and the third highest tally in the eight years records have been kept.

For 2012, the grand total of recorded flights for the year was 5,840, up 3 percent from a year ago. It was the second highest total on record, down 3 percent from the 6,035 flights recorded in 2010.

"The airport is as busy as it's been in a long time," said Frazier. "It's not quite back up to where it was before 9-11 (2001) [before the city was keeping records]. Back then, we were selling a semi-load of aviation gas a month. Now we sell a semi-load every three months. Of course, fuel cost a lot less then."

The old practice of plane owners going out and flying for pleasure has largely disappeared, Frazier said. Vacancies at the city's T-hangars have continued to be quickly filled.

`"Jack Henry has been pretty busy, and other companies making corporate flights have been doing pretty decent," Frazier said. "That helps our facility and the community."

It's been a big year for the airport. The environmental impact study for the master plan has been approved. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave final approval in November to the city's 20-year master plan.

In 2013, the city will begin negotiations to buy approximately 378 acres of land from 11 property owners. Special legal counsel is being retained to handle the negotiations.

The master plan calls for building a new 6,001-foot primary runway. The old runway will be converted into a new taxiway.

The designation of Monett as a regional airport by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) was formally approved. Frazier said it will take several months for all of the state charts and publications to incorporate Monett's regional designation. When that process is completed, then all the signage at the airport will be changed.

The Monett City Council officially changed the airport's name in November. At the same time the council renamed the grounds as Fox Field, in honor of the contribution made by Jack Fox in promoting the airport and shaping the vision for a future facility.

A plaque commemorating Fox's efforts has been mounted on the wall, along with a photo collage, by the entrance to the terminal building. The fence gate next to the terminal building this spring will place a stone bearing the designation of Fox Field, which is being made by Wommack Monuments.

"A lot of people think this is still an airport just for the city, or private airport," Frazier said. "The more people who know that it is open to public and that everyone can use it will be a good thing."

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