Airport to spend $4M on landing technology

By Shivangi Potdar

Next spring, DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport will begin the installation of a landing system used by major airports such as Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway International Airports.

The Glide and Slope instrument landing system is a navigation aid to direct pilots down the center of the runway in inclement weather, said Airport Manager Tom Cleveland. The system will cost $4 million, including equipment and installation.

The funding for this system is 95 percent from the federal government and 2.5 percent each from the city and state, Cleveland said.

The idea is to increase the appeal of the airport in DeKalb.

“It will make the airport more appealing to more users, which in turn means more fuel sales and revenue for the airport,” City Manager Mark Biernacki said.

The airport, 3232 Pleasant St., is a major attraction for big companies such as Target and Goodyear, who can fly in the executives at short notice instead of having to drive, Biernacki said.

The nearly 750-acre airport sees about 43,000 take-offs and landings per year.

Cleveland said he estimates at least a 20-percent increase in flights because of the installation of this system that should be ready by January 2007.

The airport is undergoing other improvements such as hangar constructions and widening of taxiways.

The airport can house 64 airplanes, mostly single engine planes and smaller business jets, but by next summer it will be able to house 100 airplanes, Cleveland said.

A control tower may be next on the airport’s grocery list.

While it’s not likely in the near future, a control tower is not too far down the road once the traffic at the airport picks up, Cleveland said.