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COU Temporary Closure and Runway Modification


UPDATED 4/10 9:30 a.m.

Timeline:

April 8, 2019: City authorized the Contractor to begin work.

April 9, 2019: Contractor installed traffic control devices and performed milling operations.

April 10, 2019 Look Ahead: Contractor will complete milling operations and begin layout for asphalt paving.

The project is proceeding as scheduled, weather looks good, the contractor is well mobilized and staffed. We have also updated our airline partners and the FAA.

UPDATED 4/11 8:30 a.m.

April 10, 2019: Contractor completed most milling and began placing asphalt “wedges”.  Interim City Manager John Glascock announced at a REDI Board meeting the estimated cost of the project is between $400 and 500 thousand dollars. The FAA has tentatively agreed to fund 90% of the total cost. 

April 11, 2019: Contractor will complete spot milling and begin the asphalt overlay and ancillary earthwork associated with the project. 

The project is proceeding as scheduled. 

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 Our customers and our community are the top priority for Columbia Regional Airport. Above all, we value the safety and comfort of our passengers. As such, we have chosen to close COU through April 15 in order to quickly resolve the issue of the runway crown that our partner pilots brought to our attention over the weekend. Although the crown is fully FAA compliant and required by law, we recognize that modifications will increase comfortability for our passengers and pilots and alleviate pilot safety concerns.

As airlines continue to cancel flights on a day-to-day basis, we urge scheduled passengers to reach out directly to their airline for any questions regarding flights and rebooking. ALL flights through April 15 are currently cancelled, and we encourage you to prepare accordingly. We recommend that you request for a Senior Customer Service Team Member when you reach out to the airlines to assist you.

United Airlines: 800-864-8331

American Airlines: 800-433-7300

We understand that cancellations present a number of challenges and frustrations to our passengers, and we sincerely apologize for that. We truly appreciate your understanding as we continue to take the necessary steps to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

Although runway 13-31A is fully FAA compliant, we are addressing pilot safety concerns by making modifications to the runway. The “crown” that caused the original issue is set to undergo modifications beginning today, April 9th, as we continue to work diligently with Burns & McDonnell as well as Emery Sapp & Sons (ESS). The crown is an FAA requirement to assist with water drainage off the runway. This crown can cause a bump to the aircraft upon landing or takeoff. In 2009, COU planned to address a number of infrastructure projects to ensure adequate infrastructure to meet the needs of a modern commercial fleet. A part of that plan was to replace the original crosswind runway to accommodate commercial air traffic, when the main runway (2-20), which is 50 years old, would need maintenance. In 2017 the secondary runway (13-31) was completely rebuilt in anticipation of the main runway maintenance project in 2019. While planning for the main runway maintenance project, we consulted many times with our partners, including the airlines, to inquire about any concerns. At that time, none mentioned the crown in the main runway, as being an issue. The crosswind runway has been used numerous times by the airlines since completion and had never raised any concerns.  Our goal is to make minor modifications to that area which will allow for a smoother take-off and landing, while remaining in compliance with FAA regulations.

We will continue to provide you with up-to-date information, as we work diligently to resolve the issue and resume service at COU as soon as possible. Again, our sincerest apologies to our customers, whose travel has been impacted by our closure. We thank our partners in the community for their hard work and efforts regarding this matter and look forward to a resolution.