With the unprecedented growth of the Austin Metroplex and surrounding areas, Smithville Municipal Airport (84R) is prime for expansion. The increased commercial and corporate activity at nearby airports like Austin-Bergstrom International and Austin Executive make general aviation airports in the surrounding region attractive for aircraft owners and companies wishing to avoid the congestion and high prices that come with larger airports. As such, Smithville may begin seeing the influx of general aviation based aircraft and operational activity. To plan for that growth, the city of Smithville chose KSA to conduct an airport development plan to consider possible areas for expansion.
The study begins with a detailed inventory of existing facilities and conditions. The airport has limited property for expansion, so a primary goal of the study focuses on in-fill development to make the highest and best use out of existing property. As a way to determine the amount of additional space and facilities needed throughout the 20-year planning horizon, KSA develops a forecast of aviation demand. Unlike typical forecasts, however, this element of the study considers urban sprawl associated with the booming Austin economy and population growth, and its effect on Smithville and the potential demand for local aviation growth.
A critical component to the study is the inclusion of local area business and city leaders as well as emergency and non-emergency users. Their input into the planning process brings a unique and vital perspective into the needs and wants of all aviation and non-aviation interests in the area. This, combined with a realistic forecast of aviation demand, lays the groundwork for determining the facilities required over the next 20 years. Some of the primary facilities considered in the study include:
- Taxiway/taxilane improvements
- Vehicle roadway access and landside parking enhancements
- Additional hangars for the storage of based and transient aircraft
- Fueling system location and service improvements
- Aircraft apron expansion to accommodate increased levels of transient aircraft
- Improved approach capabilities
- Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) demand and placement
- Runway extension to accommodate possible increase in larger aircraft utilization