Longer runways, new hangars, part of Purdue Airport future

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Longer runways, new hangars and more flights every day are all part of the anticipated future at the Purdue University Airport.

“There are things such as research park, future hangar development on the outside, and what we even constitute an area reserve that we’d like to look for unmanned aerial vehicles, so a possible runway that they would use for education or training,” Project Director Christopher Snyder explained to News 18.

Over the next 20 years, the Purdue Airport is expected to grow in size. That eventually means more planes coming and going and more students learning how to fly, but a master plan for the airport has to be in place before all that can happen.

“From operating inefficiencies, so improvements in taxiways systems, because this airport has a large volume of operations from student pilots, so safety is a priority. A lot of that is being thought out as the future layout occurs. But it’s also about capacity improvements that will help the airport grow and take on new aircraft,” said Snyder.

Snyder is with Woolpert, the engineering company working on the master plan.

The company says roughly 100,000 planes fly in and out of the Purdue Airport each year, making it the second largest airport for operations in the state of Indiana. Snyder said some of the major projects in the plan include improvements on taxiways, extensions to runways and new corporate hangers.

“It’s for the opportunity to bring in new business, to improve the efficiency of the operations, and certainly grow those operations,” said Snyder.

At a workshop Monday evening, the public was invited to check out the master plan.

Aviation Technology professor Mike Suckow said the airport is a laboratory for some students. But he adds, the general public should also care about the improvements coming to the airport.

“The recent announcement for the General Electric, the previous plans from the Toyota and those places — they all bring their corporate airplanes in here and to have a facility that can handle that size of equipment, and they can do business in town is good for the economic development for the area,” said Suckow.

Officials hope to have the master plan complete by the end of the year.

It will go to the Federal Aviation Administration for approval and then back to Purdue officials to be implemented.

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