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Conway Airport Meeting Expectations

2 min read

Almost five years after it opened, the Conway Municipal Airport at Cantrell Field is living up to expectations, city and economic development officials say.

The first and most important of those was safety. The old airport, built in the 1930s, was inside the city just off Interstate 40 and was difficult to get in and out of. “There were a lot of aircraft that wouldn’t fly into our old airport because it was scary,” said Jack Bell, interim airport manager.

The new $35 million airport, which opened Sept. 1, 2014, comprises about 430 acres in an area called the Lollie Bottoms in the western part of the city near the Arkansas River.

The airport, which averages 40-50 operations per day, has two hangars for corporate aircraft, each housing two or three but has room for five more, Bell said. Among the corporate jets hangared there are those belonging to Green Bay Packaging, Home BancShares and Preferred Medical. The airport houses about 65 aircraft total.

All of the new airport’s T-hangars are full, said Mayor Bart Castleberry, with a waiting list of about 20. And fuel sales have seen a steady upward trajectory, rising from $623,000 in 2016 to $763,000 last year.

But the airport also has seen some negative publicity in the last few months, with the firings of Airport Manager Josh Zylks and Line Service Supervisor Brandy Parrott for what the city termed rules violations and dishonesty. Police have started a criminal investigation.

Jamie Gates, EVP of the Conway Development Corp., calls the airport a success, saying, “We’ve got capacity for growth, which is something we never had before. We’ve got facilities that meet and often exceed the expectations of people visiting Conway, which is something we never had.”

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