MOULTRIE -- As more and more industries come into Moultrie, other areas of the community are seeing increases to their respective businesses. One of those has been the Moultrie Municipal Airport, located on Highway 319 South near the Colquitt and Thomas County line.

Tony Brock, chairman of the Moultrie Airport Authority, said airport traffic has been especially heavy with corporate aircraft from industries such as Lowe's and Sanderson Farms.

The airport normally sees an increase in traffic this time of year with hunters coming out to Colquitt County's quail hunting lodges, Brock said.

In response to the increased volume of corporate traffic, Brock said the airport hopes to make some much-needed renovations. The airport hopes to have its secondary runway resurfaced and to have a ground communication outlet installed to allow for better communication between the air traffic controller and planes on the ground.

Alan Mathis, owner of Eagles of America, Inc., which operates at Moultrie Municipal Airport, said his company has seen a significant increase in air traffic in recent years. He attributes part of the increase to using the AirNav, LLC., Web site (www.airnav.com), which provides guaranteed fuel prices for pilots planning a trip to the area.

The company has built up a good customer base, and Mathis said pilots have actually chosen to fly into Moultrie because of the business's extended hours and service compared to other airports. Operators at AirNav have told Mathis the number of comments left by visitors to the airport is one of the highest numbers they have seen.

When Sanderson Farms executives came into Moultrie, Mathis said they told him one of the best things they liked about Moultrie was the friendly people. The employees at Eagles of America, Inc., and the community strive to make flyers feel like they are at home when they stop in Moultrie, he said.

Brock said the airport is also working to have a new Global Positioning System (GPS) that will allow for lower and smoother approaches to the airport. The system would allow planes to make approaches as low as 300 feet in low visibility conditions and inclement weather. The system currently in place allows pilots to make approaches as low as 500 feet.

Until the new system is installed, Brock said any planes flying to the Moultrie Municipal Airport under adverse conditions are re-routed to airports in Thomasville, Valdosta or Albany. Airport officials hope to have the system installed by the end of 2005.

Along with the GPS system, Brock said the airport will also install additional runway lighting. A better-lit runway would provide additional assistance on approaches by being more visible from the sky.

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