Anniston Regional Airport – Anniston, Alabama

April 5, 2023
Anniston Regional Airport - Anniston, Alabama

Anniston Regional Airport

the face of a dynamic region


Serving as the gateway to a thriving community, Anniston Regional Airport welcomes increased air traffic

It is often said that an airport is a gateway to the community it serves. For those arriving at  at Anniston Regional Airport, a pleasant surprise awaits. A short distance from the dynamic community of Anniston, Alabama, Anniston Regional Airport offers those who are landing in the area a first-rate experience which is set to get even better with proposed upgrades to its key operational facilities.

Anniston, the city after which the airport is named, is within easy traveling distance and is situated in a tree-lined valley nestled into Appalachian foothills. It is also a city that is the county seat for Calhoun County, which is also the center of government for the region.

Along with being the county seat, Anniston is home to regional hospitals, banking, and more. Prominent attractions include a vibrant downtown area with some of the region’s most beautiful architecture and a selection of Calhoun County’s best activities.

Anniston has adopted a very proactive bicycle and pedestrian integration plan over the last five to six years, making the city a mecca for cyclists. Mountain bikers flock to the Coldwater Mountain trails. This has led to Anniston becoming a hub for ecotourism activities in the region.

Currently, the city is in the process of completing what will be the last 7.2 miles of the Chief Laga Trail in Alabama. This part of the trail will link up to the Silver Comet Trail in Georgia, which will form one of the country’s longest multipurpose trails at 98 miles. This trail ends up in the metropolitan area of Atlanta.

“We are coordinating with the Atlanta Regional Commission, in conjunction with Pathfinders in Atlanta, and are currently working to bring the Silver Comet Trail into the downtown area of Atlanta,” says Toby Bennington, Director of Planning and Economic Development of Anniston.

Planning for a large-scale ecotourism project is not without its challenges, including the development of new roads and pathways, so it’s vital for the local and regional economy to be a part of the trail.

As the city’s list of activities grows, more people will come to the Anniston region. Also, a part of the development is the connection to three industrial parks within the city, all of which have shown positive growth over the years.

In the last two years, the Local Industrial Development Authority has provided incentives to five companies to either expand or add employees. The city is actively pursuing new retail developments as well as working to retain established outlets.

The city wants to take control and assist businesses in the region to attract new clientele by creating something that will bring tourists and visitors to Anniston.

Anniston has a list of retailers that do well in the area and is encouraging them to open locally. An Aldi grocery store opened recently and the developer of this property is now concluding a deal with other outlets in the surrounding area to stimulate growth. There are even prospects of a national hotel chain opening up.

Anniston Regional Airport - Anniston, Alabama

Also in the region is Fort McClellan, a decommissioned US Army post. There has been a surge in activity on the property due to training provided by the Center for Domestic Preparedness, the Homeland Security expansion, and the shifting of the Alabama National Guard.

The city is also home to the Anniston Fire Training Center, which provides basic training for firefighters and first responders throughout North Alabama.

“A lot is going on in Anniston. Hopefully, this gives people a sense of how much activity is occurring outside the ecotourism sector, and that the city is bringing more business into the community,” says Bennington.

The city wants to keep localized chains busy; the kind of establishments that serve casual food, geared towards the local demographic.

Anniston’s downtown district encompasses a large area and is a locally and nationally designated historic district. The city has a local historic preservation commission that works with building owners to ensure buildings maintain their architectural and historical integrity.

The Main Street community is included in this downtown district. They do an immense amount of work to keep up the historic character of the area. Main Street Anniston and the Downtown Development Authority also work together to ensure information is available to residents and visitors.

Promotion and marketing for Anniston are currently done via social media, namely Facebook. Another channel, but mainly for the locals, is an app called Nextdoor Neighbor, which is used by older residents.

“Most of the marketing communication is P2P, or peer-to-peer, where we interact with our followers directly. The city has other social media channels, but our primary channels are Facebook and Nextdoor Neighbor, which we use to inform residents of activities,” says Jackson Hodges, Public Relations Director of Anniston.

Recently the city updated its website, allowing for more interactivity. It also allows citizens to report nuisances as well as apply for grants online. The website sees a lot of use, with about 20,000 users a month.

These users are captured through the website when they sign up for newsletters. Information communicated via these newsletters varies from hazardous weather conditions to transit alerts and updates for new methods of online payments.

The website is also mobile-friendly and allows citizens to access information and resources for building, construction, and more.

Anniston has undergone rebranding over the last few years and is currently looking at marketing itself on a regional level.

“We agreed to appear on ABC 33-40, which does a hometown focus. The network’s program should reach 1.7 million people within the state, and the city will complete two production spots appearing on their streaming and TV services,” says Hodges.

The central consumer promise of these spots is that the city is affordable. With easy access to amenities as well as the great outdoors and activities, Anniston is an attractive city, especially as the economy grows tighter and interest rates climb.

Many Americans have changed their way of thinking since the pandemic. People between the ages of 20 to 35 are now looking for affordable, active lifestyles.

Anniston Regional Airport - Anniston, Alabama

Anniston wants to be the city that allows Americans to go back to small-town living and becomes a destination known for being affordable, accessible, and transparent. The spot will highlight all the good projects on the go in the city.

The city is also home to the Anniston Regional Airport, which is a gateway to the surrounding counties. It is a non-scheduled, non-commuter airport that provides services to general aviation. Anniston has many companies based within its city limits, and the airport provides facilities for its executives to take private flights.

The airport can service 747s, DC nines, military aircraft, as well as commercial and cargo flights.

The airport is a backup runway for two larger ones, namely, Atlanta’s Hartsfield and Birmingham’s Shuttlesworth Airport. Thus the regional airport’s capacity to handle large aircraft.

Currently, the operations at the airfield are handled by fixed-based operators (FBO) Anniston Aviation, which has a lease agreement with the city to handle all services and support. The city’s public works department oversees maintenance and upkeep.

Anniston Aviation is also in charge of refueling on the airfield and has access to fueling trucks.

Another company that utilizes the airport is Honda, which flies components in for its factory via the airfield.

Jacksonville State University also used the airfield to transport its athletic teams.

“We include our airport in marketing material for the city as it allows us to offer a different mode of transportation for economic development projects. And being close to the I20 allows players quick access to Birmingham, Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Knoxville, Tennessee,” says Bennington.

Another mode of transportation offered to citizens of Anniston is the Amtrak service, which has a national reach.

Over the last five to eight years, the airport has received improvement grants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These have included upgrades to the runway, taxiways, strip lighting, and apron.

With various levels of projects being conducted at the airport and partly funded by the city, the goal has been to maintain a level of infrastructure that would attract companies who need large aircraft to land at the airfield.

The airport’s location makes it a prime property for businesses wanting to access the southern industrial regions of the city as well as larger metropolitan areas located on the I20 highway.

“Anniston Regional Airport sits in a strategic location and provides easy access to destinations in multiple areas throughout the county,” says Bennington.

Anniston Regional Airport is vital to the recruitment and retention of businesses that the Calhoun County Economic Development Council utilizes.

Another use for the airport has been for tours conducted by youth groups. Many of these programs allow at-risk children to view the aircraft, talk to the pilots, and learn about the aviation industry.

The city would like to highlight that Anniston offers multiple forms of transportation that assist economic development.

“In 2023, we’d love to inform businesses that you don’t need to drive 400 miles into Anniston. You can fly into our regional airport or use the Crescent line for the Amtrak, which also serves New Orleans, Louisiana, and Washington, DC. Anniston is ready to welcome all businesses,” concludes Bennington.

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Anniston Regional Airport

What: A dynamic regional airport with operational upgrades planned for 2023

Where: Anniston, Alabama



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