MOBILE, Ala. – Mobile Regional Airport sits 11 miles west of Mobile and a lot of people have to tackle hectic Airport Boulevard to get there.
Ted Burnette wants to change that. He created a petition asking the Mobile Airport Authority to move it closer to the heart of downtown – at Brookley Field.
“About 600 thousand people live in Mobile and Eastern Shore and to have the smallest amount of traffic going out of the Mobile Regional Airport told me there was a problem and my conclusion is that it’s at the end of Airport Blvd., and it’s in the wrong place,” said Burnett.
The Aeroplex was first established in 1929 as Bates Field and was Mobile’s first Municipal Airport. In 1948 it was renamed Brookley Air Force Base, but in 1969 it closed, leaving 13 thousand people without jobs. “It’s like a wound that’s never healed,” said Burnette.
Today, with Airbus moving in, the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley is growing, but Burnett says the field is still underused. The petition has gotten over 500 signatures so far. I spoke with people who support the idea and some who are against it.
“No. I don’t think that’s a good idea,” said Haleigh Judge.
“I think it would make it busier downtown and it would cause more traffic. So, I think it should stay in West Mobile,” said Madison Wright.
“It would be closer here in Brookley Field,” said Gwen Kennell.
“The best thing is to move the airport to Brookley Field,” said Gladys Jones.
“I think it wouldn’t be a good idea because of the congestion of Brookley Field and you have room for growth out Airport Blvd.,” said Alan Dailey.
The Mobile Airport Authority released this statement saying:
“Any analysis of relocation involves many invested stakeholders. The process and costs associated with any potential relocation would require significant investment of tax payer funds. From a fiscal responsibility perspective the Airport Authority, in concert with the Air Service Task Force and the Regional Planning Commission, favors a complete analysis of solutions that would significantly improve access to the current airport before evaluating a relocation.”
“I think if we could put man on the moon, I think we could put an airport at Brookley field and make it work for everybody in Mobile County and Baldwin County,” said Burnette.
Burnette says if anything, he wants the petition to get people thinking about the idea. According to some estimates it could cost between 500 million to over 1 billion to relocate the airport.