Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa in the Air

According to NORAD, Santa is already on his way. Luckily for Missourians, his flight options have expanded in the state.

The new Branson West Airport opened to air traffic on Dec. 15. The aiport, owned by the City of Branson west, includes a 5,000-foot runway capable of handling corporate aircraft, a full-length parallel taxiway, an aircraft-parking apron and T-hangar taxi lanes. The city continues to work on completing storage hangars, a maintenance and terminal facility, an automated weather station and other capabilities. A grand opening is planned next summer.

While many people think only of the airports in larger cities, Santa has lots of options in Missouri. MoDOT works with more than 120 public-use airports in the state, administering federal funding, conducting safety inspections and providing safety equipment -- sometimes reindeer food. In 2008, there were more than one million take-offs and landing in Missouri.

An important Christmas fact: More than 160,000 tons of cargo are transported by air in Missouri each year. It's top secret how much of that comes from Santa's sleigh.