Monett Regional Airport to make improvements with $11.3 million federal grant

Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 7:32 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -It may look like many other small town municipal airports, but the Monett Regional Airport is a bit different.

“We handle business jets," explained Monett City Administrator Dennis Pyle.

Jack Henry & Associates is the most high-profile tenant at the airport. The Fortune 500 company based in Monett is a technology giant providing payment processing services for the financial services industry. In 2019 they had more than $1.5 billion in revenues and their travel operations are based out of the Monett Regional Airport.

But they aren’t the only company that flies in-and-out of the facility. Other area industries and businesses use it too like Tyson, EFCO, Justin Boots, International Dehydrated Foods and Schreiber Foods.

With so many industries important to Monett’s economic base using the airport, the city has been working for 12 years to acquire 370 additional acres around the airport and get the funding they now have to build a new 6,000-ft. runway and extend the one they have into a parallel taxiway to accommodate the bigger planes those companies will be using.

The announcement of the $11.3 million federal grant was made by U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, and U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo.

The initial phase of construction to begin this fall includes earthwork and grading of the new runway with the paving phase to follow. The City Council accepted the grant and approved a funding agreement at their Aug. 20 meeting for a project of several phases that’s expected to be completed by 2025.

“It’s wonderful for Jack Henry and all the other operators here at the airport," said Brian Hunter, the Travel Manager for Jack Henry & Associates. “With these new facilities it will attract a lot of aircraft operators that currently can’t operate out of Monett. . "All of this will allow greater safety margins, and more fuel to be purchased locally. Monett operators will no longer be forced to reduce fuel loads and range, effectively allowing for businesses to operate bigger aircraft, and reach many international destinations nonstop.”

While those that don’t use the airport may think it has no effect on them, Pyle said think again.

“I consider the airports to be the equivalent of the interstates of the 20th century," Pyle pointed out. "The railroad changed Monett back in the early 20th century. Our airport plays that same role in the 21st century.”

The airport serves Barry, Lawrence and Newton counties and according to an economic impact study conducted by the Missouri Dept. of Transportation, it generates 82 full-time equivalent jobs with a $4.2 million payroll and contributes about $13.1 million to the state’s economy.

And if you’re wondering where that $11 million dollars in federal funding is coming from?

“This money comes from aviation taxes so it’s not coming out of the general fund," Hunter answered. "It’s coming from the taxes we pay on fuel and the taxes we pay on airline tickets.”

“The stronger and safer our state’s transportation infrastructure is, the stronger the opportunity for continued growth and new jobs,” Blunt said in a statement. “This grant funding is great news for the airport and all of the businesses and residents in the area who rely on it.”

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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