With as many as 15,000 operations annually, Craig-Moffat Airport key economic driver | CraigDailyPress.com

With as many as 15,000 operations annually, Craig-Moffat Airport key economic driver

Michelle Balleck, special to the Craig Press

There's more than meets the eye at Craig-Moffat Airport.

The Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership Board of Directors, staff and guests learned the magnitude of the airport's impact on the local economy during a business visit Sept. 20 at the airport, located at 3005 Colo. Highway 394.

Jerry Hoberg, Moffat County planner and airport manager, offered insight into airport funding, operations and opportunities for growth. Luke Tucker, owner/operator of Mountain Air Spray Co. and CMEDP board chairman, explained his family's company's role as the primary tenant at the airport's hangars. Guy Emett, lead pilot and base manager for Classic Air Medical, described transporting regional medical patients, with the airport serving as home base.

"You don't realize how much comes through here," Hoberg said, noting that the airport averages between 12,000 to 15,000 operations, or takeoffs and landings, each year.

In addition to Mountain Air Spray and Classic Air Medical, frequent users of the airport include local industry partners, doctors, law enforcement, firefighters, golfers, tourists and residents.

The city of Craig and Moffat County support the airport's operations and maintenance, with capital support coming from the Federal Aviation Administration and Colorado Division of Aeronautics.

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"It's a really nice airport for the city and county," Tucker said.

Additional revenue comes through leases on hangars from individuals and companies, such as Mountain Air Spray, which began operating at the airport in 1951. Tucker's grandfather, the late Lee Tucker, founded the company with Bill Levkulich and later bought out his business partner. Now, Luke Tucker's father, Blaine, and brother, Adam, and he fly and operate the business.

"I've been out here since I was a little kid," Luke Tucker said.

Luke Tucker, who started flying at age 16, said Mountain Air Spray's services include pest and weed spraying and fueling planes that fly in and out of the airport. He added he’s witnessed advances in technology, including GPS systems that guide pilots along predetermined paths down to a foot of accuracy.

He's also seen the airport grow to accommodate increased usage. The new terminal was built in 2008, and the new heated hangar Classic Air Medical occupies was built in 2013.

"This hangar has been a Godsend," Emett said.

Hoberg is working to update the airport's master plan to continue eligibility for federal funds that support capital upgrades. In the past few years, other improvements have included building an automobile parking lot, resurfacing the airstrip and aprons and adding new reflectors and signage along the mile-long runway.

Both agree there are continued improvements planned for the future and that the airport is an asset in Moffat County's economic growth.

"This airport creates revenue and offers access to air service for passengers and products right in our backyard," Tucker said. "My family feels lucky to have the airport be a partner as we've grown our business over the years and look forward to what's next."

For more information about the airport, call Hoberg at 970-824-9148. For more information about Mountain Air Spray, call Tucker at 970-824-6335.

For more information about CMEDP, contact Executive Director Michelle Balleck at 620-4370 or director@cmedp.com.