New Growth at Columbus-Lowndes County Airport
According to the flight-tracking website FlightAware, Columbus-Lowndes County Airport has seen as much as a 200 percent increase in traffic for some summer months over the same period two years ago.
Airport Director Dan Duston credits much of that increase to providing consistent, good service.
Flights at the airport include medical, business and agriculture. PHI Medical now has a helicopter hangared there as well.
“When flying coast-to-coast, our airport is underneath a major airway,” Duston says. “It’s easy to get in and out. So, we get a good bit of traffic that stops here to fuel up and take a break.”
Forestry work also brings in business.
“We have a lot of pine tree plantations in the area, north and south of here and into Alabama,” Duston adds. “This time of year, we have a lot of aircraft spraying pine crops to kill off the undergrowth, and it’s a big asset for us to be centrally located between their jobs.”
The airport even sees a handful of “Angel Flights.”
“That’s where you have a group of volunteers with planes who fly patients to hospitals for treatment, especially those who can’t travel commercially because of compromised immune systems,” Duston says. “We don’t see that every week, but we see it a good bit, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The airport has also been designated an FAA testing site.
“As of April, pilots and student pilots who need to take a written FAA knowledge exam can take it here,” Duston remarks. “That’s great for us, because the next closest (testing area) is 100 miles away. Anybody at Raspet Flight Research Lab or in law enforcement can come here to take drone tests, for example.”
The airport has been on a bit of an expansion kick lately, adding the ability to sell jet fuel back in April and repaving the taxiway earlier this year. Plans for continued growth and improvement should be met in 2024.