Mt. Hawley Airport has a future

Nick Stroman

The results are in for a feasibility study which was used to determine the future of the Mt. Hawley Airport in Peoria. 

While the airport will not be taking flight out of its current spot anytime soon, travelers might see the facility undergoing a makeover over the next few years.

Eight months ago, the Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria commissioned the study to better understand the dynamics of Mt. Hawley because nothing had ever been formally done to determine the demands and true growth potential of the airport.

Director of airports Ken Spirito said the results showed that to keep Mt. Hawley where it is and make some cosmetic changes was the best option at this time.

“We had already commissioned a second phase of the study to examine potential new sites for the airport, but the answers we got show there is enough area to grow where we are now,” said Spirito.

Mt. Hawley’s main uses include business, recreation and flight schools. 

Many of those travelers prefer the airport because it is not controlled, and there are not as many security issues to deal with as Greater Peoria Regional Airport.

Spirito said the airport authority’s next step in seeking funding will address those travelers’ needs, along with, hopefully, attracting new users to try out the airport.

“Certain types of aircraft can’t access Mt. Hawley because it’s too small for their needs, and our runway and land expansions would certainly make us more attractive,” noted Spirito.

The study proposes expanding the width of the runway from 60 to 75 feet and the length from 3,600 to 4,200 feet. 

It also calls for a basic instrumentation system for inclement weather conditions and upgrades to the pavement and infrastructure.

For more on this story see the 4/30 issue of the Peoria Times-Observer