Clear to take off

City officials recently announced that changes to the Grand Haven airport are soon to take off, and that is good news for future economic growth potential.
Apr 9, 2013


While the price tag on the project approaches a half-million dollars, the city will only have to fund $23,000 toward the improvements.

It might be years before we see such an investment paying dividends in terms of any real economic development, but any financial advisor would likely approve of a nearly 1,900 percent return on the initial investment.

We applaud city officials for securing federal money to help pay for improvements to our community. No doubt there are people out there who will argue that there are more important ways to spend that money, and to a certain extent that’s probably true. But anytime we can obtain federal funds to complete 95 percent of a project, we see that as a good thing.

A functional airport with useful facilities is a great benefit to any community. Nearly any large company that considers new locations to either relocate or expand would want this available.

We’re fortunate to have a strong, secure manufacturing sector here in Grand Haven, but we would be remiss if we weren’t formulating a plan to recruit more in the future.

Good airport facilities would be a step in that direction.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



Adding a larger meeting room to the current lounge is a waste of time and money. It amounts to little more than a larger board room for the board to meet at. How about improvements like runway extensions and resurfacing or larger corporate hangars to lure corporate aircraft to this field. Private general aviation is dying under the current administration. However the corporate side is seeing an uptick, this would be the time to build a hangar that these types of aircraft would fit into. These are the only types of revenue streams that will make a municipal airport viable. The city sorely needs better advice on a airport master plan and how to secure federal funding for runway and field safety. Additionally, Private concerns have offered to build hangars suitable for there own aircraft that revert to city ownership after a period of time but the city seems uninterested. So the field languishes and consumes taxpayor dollars.


That sounds like a great idea to extend the runway. There just isn't any room for extending any of the runways. The only one that even be feasible to extend would be 9/27 to a minimum of 5000ft, and that would not be enough for some bigger planes. To be really attractive, you would have to make it 6000ft or more in length. Then you would be closing roads to make that happen, and that isn't an option. Then there is not enough clearway on either end if 9/27 was extended. Not to mention you would need a precision approach to one of the runways with the weather along the lake shore. With Muskegon only 15 minutes to the north by car, it wouldn't make much sense to spend all that money for a few more flights a year. The new hangars would be great, but without the longer runway, they are useless. One corporation in GH and one in SL has a plane that technically can use the existing runway anyway. I don't see any other corporations in the area buying planes anytime soon.


Most of the city residence would rather see this land used for more business development. Their is only a hand full of residences that use this airport. I would rather see the federal money being put into the Muskegon Airport for future growth of additional airline service. The service under Delta/Northwest was much better than the present contract with United AIrlines.


5000 with a new GPS VNAV approach would at least make it safe. Everyone wants an ILS to 6000 ft runway, that's the whole ball of wax which obviously 3GM will never have even if there was room due surrounding terrain (let's not get into a terps discussion) what your saying is there is no need for an airport at all. If it exists there should be continuous improvement. Each time the city takes the federal pill they have just more commitment to a dying project.


Well TERPS is part of the discussion anytime you talk about extending any runway. Not sure who said there is no need for an airport at all, but I did not say that, or insinuate that one bit. 5000ft is not going to be enough to attract anyone. There just isn't any room for even a 5000ft runway. Someone is going to need to step up with hangar space for larger aircraft, JET-A, deice and ramp space. Which again there just isn't any room for most of that. Of course they could close 18/36 for good to make room for hangars and ramps.

I think it would be a great idea to make the airport bigger in many ways. I just don't think it is feasible when Muskegon is right up the road. Just don't think it will bring any return on the investment. Muskegon isn't that busy either. To have two bigger airports within miles of each other, doesn't make fiscal since. Not to mention the $100 a leg the current administration is proposing. That alone is going to stop a lot of people from flying anyway.


I think you just said we don't need the airport and I'm beggining to agree. You seem to have a lot of knowledge of the land constraints as they exist now. MKG is an excellent facility and if the FAA looks at the local criteria (need) for funding I would lean toward MKG as it truly is a passenger aligned field. I guess that why I moved there from 3GM.


I am not sure where you are reading anyone saying that we don't need the Grand Haven airport. It has never been typed by me once. I did say it isn't fiscally responsible to pour a ton of money into 3GM, since it wouldn't attract a lot of new planes. Anyone that knows anything about aviation, knows there just isn't the land surrounding 3GM to expand any of the runways. What are you going to do, close roads and buy a bunch of houses to make room to a longer runway? Where is that money going to come from?

So please enlighten us as to where and who said we don't need the Grand Haven airport. I would like to see the direct quote.


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