State, Wellington officials celebrate airport runway expansion; and the economic development opportunities thereafter

Pilots, who are responsible of flying multimillion dollar Cessna Citation jets, may find the Wellington Municipal Airport very appealing when needing to refuel on a continental flight from the east to west coast.

At least that is what state and city officials are hoping, as the process is underway for the expansion of the city airport runway by 1,000 feet – from 4,250 to 5,250 feet – to accommodate larger private/commercial jets. The project is expected to be completed by August 2018.

The City of Wellington held its ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday morning under clear skies at the spot of the new airport expansion. The project — which will extend to the north — will include a new taxiway turnaround, a realignment of the dirt road 50th avenue to the north and the removal of the existing sewer lagoons — hooking the airport to the city sanitation system.

But at the heart of this project is the hope that Wellington’s airport will become a regional hub not over for transient customers flying across the U.S., but for aircraft and other industrial executives who need to fly into Sumner County to do business.

This is as much about economic development than anything else.

(Read more: Sumner NewsCow)