Demopolis regional airport offers many services

Published 9:26 pm Friday, August 14, 2009

The Demopolis Municipal Airport on U.S. Highway 80 West is actually a regional airport, the only one between Tuscaloosa and Mobile and between Selma and Meridian, Miss.

“It’s been designated a regional airport three or four years ago, and we have just not changed the name of it,” said airport manager Buzz Sawyer, who has worked at the airport for 22 years.

Sawyer said what defines the airport as a regional airport is the length of the runway at 5,000 feet, or 0.95 miles. Also, the services provided by the airport also define it as a regional airport.

Email newsletter signup

“We provide jet fuel service and aviation fuel service for smaller airplanes,” he said. “We have hangars that have 18 airplanes in them right now, and we have a maintenance mechanic who is on call.

“We have resurfaced just about every square foot of asphalt that there is. We’ve built three hangars in addition to the old hangar that we already had. Over time, we resurfaced the runway and resurfaced the taxiway. We created a new ramp where the new T-hangar is located. That is a 10-unit T-hangar that is really an investment for our local folks. When we did that, they put their airplanes in there, and they would come out and get them, fly them and put them back in there. It’s a nice storage facility.”

Sawyer said the regional designation helps the airport gain more funding from the state than a general aviation airport would get.

He added that one of the best additions the airport has made in recent years is the addition of a weather line.

“When we finished the automatic weather reporting system, that was the icing on the cake,” Sawyer said. “It really made the airport fully capable. It has really been a lot more valuable to me than I thought it would be.

“If you’re ever out of town and you want to know what the weather is back home, you can dial the number, 289-1466, and it will tell you what the weather is out here.

“Pilots also have the capability of tuning in a radio frequency and getting the same weather report,” he said. “So, when they’re inbound, they can find out what the weather is at the moment and plan their flights accordingly.”

Sawyer said that in his 22 years at the airport, he has seen a number of improvements.

“Every mayor we’ve had and the city council have always thought the airport was a priority,” he said. “It’s the first thing a businessman sees when he comes here to do business. If he’s going to come here and build a business, if he gets off of an airplane, this is the first thing he sees: the airport.”

Sawyer said that the airport serves people within a 30-minute drive of the airport. Speaking of the proposed regional airport planned for the south part of the county or Clarke County, he said that may come to pass someday.

The Demopolis Municipal Airport is the only regional airport outside of the larger cities closest to Demopolis. It may well be the first thing a new business owner sees of this area and an important asset in bringing more business to Demopolis and Marengo County.