Conway residents say good riddance to old airport

CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) -- The new Conway airport is set to open its runway Monday after nearly five years of construction and much to the happiness of nearby residents.

Neighbors said the plane engines at the current airport along 6th Street in the city can be loud during the week, but that it really hits its peak on Sundays.

"It sounds like a freight train right here in front of our house," said Deanna McGinty, who has lived across from the airport for three years. "I know it's right down the road, but it's pretty bad."

Neighbors have also said that the airport isn't just loud, it also creates a safety hazard.

"Whenever you're landing planes and things in a populated area like this you're going to have problems sooner or later," said nearby resident Clay West.

West witnessed the airport's latest crash in 2012 when one pilot died. In 2007, there was another crash where the pilot overshot the runway, crashing into a home and killing the person that lived there.

The FAA has long deemed the current airport unsafe, and discussions about a new one have been occurring since 1975. The new airport should fix many of those problems. It's in a more remote part of Conway, located about six miles outside of town. The runway has been lengthened to 12,000 ft. which is up from the current airport's 5,500 ft. runway. The landing is also fit for planes that weigh up to 100,000 pounds, a total that is four times as much as the current runway's 25,000 pounds.

While the new airport will be opening Monday, there is still work to be done on the hangars and fueling stations. The old airport will remain open for about two more months to house and fuel planes, after which it will be knocked down to make room for the new Conway mall.


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