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Golden Triangle Regional Airport

Airport information
Airport typePublic
OperatorGolden Triangle Regional Authority
LocationGolden Triangle (Mississippi)
Elevation80.5 m (264 ft)

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Golden Triangle Regional Airport is a public airport midway between the towns of Columbus, Starkville, and West Point, Mississippi, and serving the area known as the Golden Triangle and the surrounding region of Mississippi. The airport has a single runway.

GTR is mostly used for general and military aviation but is also served by three commercial airlines, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Mesaba Airlines, and Pinnacle Airlines under the auspices of Delta Connection. Chautauqua Airlines, a Republic Airways Holdings company, also operated flights under the Delta Connection banner early in 2006. Until Delta's withdrawing "focus city" operations from Dallas-Fort Worth in February 2005, GTR had one flight per day to DFW. Four ASA flights per day to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport remained until late 2005. In 2006, there are but three flights per day to ATL.

Mesaba Aviation, d.b.a. Northwest Airlink, also operated flights to Memphis from GTR, but they ceased these operations in 2003 citing a desire to not compete with the new regional jet service being started by ASA as they replaced the Embraer fleet.

With the acquisition of Northwest Airlines by Delta Air Lines in 2008 Delta took over scheduling the Northwest flights in the Memphis hub. On January 27, 2009 Delta announced the resumption of service between GTR and Memphis on Mesaba Airlines, now operating as a Delta Connection carrier. The new service began on May 4, 2009 and supplements the Atlantic Southeast Airlines service to Atlanta. In 2010, Pinnacle Airlines started flying CRJ-200s as Delta started phasing the Saab-340 aircraft out of their Connection Carrier fleet.

GTR is the nucleus of a new industrial complex in northeast Mississippi. American Eurocopter, a subsidiary of America, moved into an 85000 sqft (7896.8 m2) helicopter production plant built by the airport and leased to the company on airport property in 2004. In 2007 American Eurocopter finished the second phase of the project, a 220000 sqft (20438.7 m2) facility built primarily to manufacture and assemble the new U.S. Army UH-72A Lakota Light Utility Helicopter. Severstal North America opened a steel mini-mill in an adjacent site in October 2007 and immediately began construction on phase II, bringing total investment in the plant to $1.8 billion. PACCAR, parent company of Peterbilt, Kenworth and DAF (Dutch) trucks is constructing a truck engine plant adjacent to the airport to the north that is expected to open in 2009. Other industry, many with international roots, continues to locate at the industrial park adjacent to the airport. The area has two "megasites" adjacent to the airport that were certified under the program. In addition, two aerospace companies, Aurora Flight Sciences and Stark Aerospace, built facilities on airport property and primarily manufacture unmanned aerial vehicles. Stark Aerospace is the newly-formed subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries.

Because of the projected growth, in the years since 2003 the airport has spent significant resources improving and upgrading the infrastructure. In 2003 a $1.6 million air traffic control tower was opened to maintain the safety of the flying operation and is manned under the FAA's Contract Tower Program. The runway was repaved and strengthened to take commercial aircraft up to a Boeing 757. Two additional parking ramps were constructed and the two remaining ramps were rehabilitated. The terminal has had minor renovations but a major expansion was completed in 2010. A runway expansion from 6,497' to 8,000' was completed in June 2011 (expansion").

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