Airport construction project will not close the airport.
The Greater Binghamton Airport will not be closing for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the primary runway in the month of May. However, it will interrupt air service for that month.
The Greater Binghamton Airport has two runways and our primary runway is in dire need of reconstruction. Much like a highway, runway pavements become deteriorated over time and need reconstruction. We know that potholes are bad in a highway, however they could be disastrous on a surface that aircraft are using for taking off and landing.
When highway construction is happening, traffic is diverted to other lanes or routes so that the work can be done, similarly the Greater Binghamton Airport has a secondary runway that is available while the work on our primary runway is being completed.
So, the burning question is, why won’t there be air service during this project? The simple answer is that SkyWest Airlines who is providing the Binghamton to Detroit service for Delta Airlines has made the decision to not operate using the shorter alternate runway during this project.
To be more specific, SkyWest operates Canadair Regional jets for their BGM-DTW route. This aircraft is capable of using our alternate runway however it would likely have to do so at reduced capacity. In other words, rather than selling 50 seats for each flight they would be restricted to say, 35 seats and this could have a negative impact on their profitability for that month. Because of that they have unfortunately, but understandably made the decision to use their aircraft and aircrews elsewhere during this project.
Why Now? With less airlines serving BGM, why is this construction happening now? Simple answer, it’s needed, it’s a matter of safety and this is the best time that will impact the least number of people.
More specifically, we have a responsibility to maintain a safe facility and infrastructure for aircraft operations. As our primary runway, this pavement gets the most use and has been showing increased deterioration requiring more and more maintenance. Airport Administration had requested and received funding from the FAA to do this work and May was considered the time that would be best suited based on volume of passenger traffic and historical weather patterns. Prior to May there would be more chance of weather delays and after May passenger traffic increases.
The runway is made of asphalt and has about 1.1 million square feet in overall pavement area (not including shoulders and transition services to taxiways). To put it in terms of a highway, we’re talking over 17 miles in length of a DOT highway lane. To complete such a project in one month is really quite remarkable. Think of how long roadway and highway projects take. These tend to last up to the full length of summers and into the fall. To reduce the impact to the Broome County flying community the timeline was truncated and coordinated to affect the least amount of people. It will be a great project that allows for the runway infrastructure at the Greater Binghamton Airport to continue to serve its community for decades to come.
SkyWest Airlines has expressed to us that they are pleased that we are addressing the runway and they look forward to resuming three daily flights to Detroit Metro Airport in June.