The Mobile Airport Authority in Alabama is planning to move commercial air passenger service from Mobile Regional Airport back downtown to the Brookley Aeroplex. The latter is the Mobile region’s largest industrial and transportation park anchored by Airbus’ largest North American manufacturing plant.

The authority laid out its plans for the new passenger terminal, which includes a $160 million eight-gate facility, during a webinar on Tuesday 4 August. Part of a process that began in 2018, the master plan was rolled out in response to a feasibility study that revealed it was both feasible and critical for the Mobile Airport Authority to move commercial air passenger services from the Mobile Regional Airport in west Mobile to the Mobile Downtown Airport in order to re-capture passenger traffic.

Chris Curry, Mobile Airport Authority’s President, commented that, “While there is no doubt that the aviation industry has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the market will rebound.” He added that now “is actually a good time to be developing and implementing a plan to recpature that market when it returns.”

Built at its current location in 1949, Mobile Regional Airport loses around 55% of its passengers to airports in Pensacola, Biloxi-Gulfport and New Orleans because urban sprawl and  congestion have made it a difficult destination for passengers. Brookley by comparison is a mere four miles from downtown Mobile and in close proximity to the Eastern Shore area of Daphen, Spanish Fort and Fairhope –

According to Curry, the footprint at Brookley is smaller than the existing terminal at Mobile Regional Airport. “It’s designed to be smaller and more efficient with the ability to expand,” he said.

The master plan was conducted by consulting experts Leigh Fisher and was financed largely through funds authorised by the Federal Aviation Administration, who Curry says will also largely finance the new terminal.

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