Rumors of expanding Craig Airport runway stirs debate

JAA says runway expansion is "not in the plans"

Author: Scott Johnson, General assignment reporter, sjohnson@wjxt.com
Elizabeth Berry, Evening assignment manager, beth@wjxt.com
Published On: Dec 13 2013 12:00:21 AM EST
Runway length in question
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The recent crash that killed three people near craig airport has caused some residents to remember a fight that has gone on for decades surrounding the airport; whether to expand the runway at the airport.

This issue was dropped around five years ago, but the debate continues.

Channel 4 spoke with people on both sides of the debate. People who live near Craig Airport thought the issue may come up again, and many don't want it to.

Neighbors said the crash over the weekend where three people were killed is exactly why the issue should not return.

"They say it's always been about the noise. Personally it's been about safety for me and all my neighbors and this is exactly why," said neighbor, Dianne Wiles. "This is a very small plane, you extended the runway, you've got bigger jets coming in, natural gas out there, could've been a real tragedy."

Despite rumors that talk of expanding the runway could come up again, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority said it's simply, "not in the plans at this time."

Channel 4's Scott Johnson also caught up with Morgan Miller, the former General Manager at Craig Airport. Miller thinks the project is a good idea and would actually make the area safer.

"I believe it's the right answer for the community around with safety. Not just the pilots, but the community. I don't want a plane in trouble flying around my head," said Miller.

While Wiles was concerned about safety with more planes flying in and out, Miller said expanding the runway is what Craig Airport needs, he feels the runways now are outdated and too short.

"There's a point in which a plane must make a decision whether to start or stop and that decision needs to be made with such a short distance of runway that there's no time to stop an engine, you need to take to air and go back around," said Miller.