Dothan Regional Airport

DOTHAN REGIONAL AIRPORT –you need to fly to Panama City. If you tell me that you want to come into southeast Alabama or northwest Florida and you’re scouting for a site to build a plant, maybe Dothan would be a more convenient location for you because now you’ve got better access to both states. “Tallahassee is a hundred miles from us; Mont- gomery is a hundred miles from us. Those are fairly comparable airports, they’re larger than we are, and they’re also both capital cities. So, again, while there are a lot of similarities, and we do compete for a certain segment of our commercial passengers, it’s different because they’re capital cities. Those airports are focused mostly on pas- sengers and not necessarily, industry.When we look at industrial development, we have pas- senger service here that’s very important to the economic development of my community and we do everything we can to try and promote and encourage that.” In fact, promoting business is definitely high on Dothan’s agenda, and the Airport does have land available in an industrial park just outside its perimeter. Morris says that the City of Dothan and the Airport Authority work closely with the local Chamber of Commerce to do the industrial marketing for the area. “They, in turn, work with the Economic Development Agency in Dale Coun- ty, where the Airport is physically located,” he explains. “We’re inside the city limits of Dothan, which is the county seat for Houston County, but the actual property is located in adjacent Dale County. Both counties, and the City of Dothan, work together on industrial development and marketing the Airport. It’s a really beneficial rela- tionship. They also provide some funding for us FBO or some sort of maintenance or large aircraft operation - we lease about 400,000 square feet of hangar space to Commercial Jet. I’ve got some additional hangars we’re in negotiation with, right now. I’ve got two smaller hangars –one’s about 13,000 square feet and one is around 16,500 square feet. I’ve got another one that’s around 36,000 square feet that we’re talking to another company about that would be involved in some larger aircraft maintenance. So, hopefully, we’ll get those leased in this fiscal year.” When asked if Dothan is in competition with any nearby facilities, Morris explains thusly: “All airports have some things in common, particular- ly if you’re talking about Part 139 airports.We all have the same FAA regulations to comply with; certain standards we have to adhere to; we have runways; we have taxiways; we have ramp areas. So, in that sense, we’re similar. However, our con- figurations, our actual infrastructures are differ- ent, and our markets are different. “We are 90 miles from Panama City, Florida. The Airport Director there is a friend of mine and we get along great. Are we in competition with one another? Yes and no. His market is different. Most of my market is business-related; most of his market is leisure-related. He’s got a beach, I don’t. If you’re looking at families that are look- ing for the cheapest fares, they’re always going to buy the cheapest fare even if they have to drive a hundred miles to get to it; if you’re talking about the average business person where time is critical, they’re not always after the cheapest fare, they’re after convenience.He has really good fares in and out of his airport and he has more air service than we have. But, it’s a resort destination–Dothan is not. So, it’s comparing an apple to an orange. “So, we do kind of compete, but it’s not really direct competition and there are differences in the markets. So, if you tell me you’re flying from Chicago and you want to go to the beach, it doesn’t make any sense for you to fly into Dothan