TRAVERSE CITY — Cherry Capital Airport has received its long-awaited federal funding to lengthen its main runway.
U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow announced Friday the airport will receive $3.2 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants to help ensure safe and efficient operations at the airport while improving bad weather safety.
The longer airstrip will allow commercial jets that now use the airport to run fully loaded with passengers. Currently during the thinner air of hot weather up to half a dozen passengers can get bumped from a flight to reduce plane weight.
Construction is underway for the airstrip lengthening, which the airport began with its own funds, said Kevin Klein, airport director. The grant will reimburse Cherry Capital for a portion of the $4 million project.
The grant also will fund design work for friction treatments of both airport runways to improve skid resistance for aircraft operating in inclement weather. The top of the runways have a porous asphalt that allows water to drain away. The proposal is to mill off the top two inches and apply a new overlay, Klein said. That work won’t likely begin until 2014.