Aztec officials say the airport's terminal apron — the area in which planes can park and maneuver and passengers can board — needs to be repaired

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FARMINGTON — As the Aztec Municipal Airport prepares for its first fly-in in about five years, the Aztec City Commission will meet Monday evening to discuss reconstructing the airport terminal apron.

The airport terminal apron is the area in which planes can park and maneuver and passengers can board. The Aztec airport's apron was first constructed in the 1970s, and officials say the crumbled asphalt could damage plane wheels.

City Manager Joshua Ray described the reconstruction as a critical project for the airport. He said the airport, which houses 18 planes in its hangars, drives tourism by providing a place for pilots to land in Aztec.

"We have a great group of local pilots," Ray said.

On Monday, the commission could approve a bid for the work. The reconstruction includes two possible additional projects — adding a fuel truck access road and expanding the apron pavement to areas around the hangers and parking areas. The only bid the city received was from Oldcastle Southwest Group. The company bid more than $719,000 for the project, as well as nearly $67,000 for the fuel truck access road and more than $350,000 for expanding the apron pavement.

The bids were much higher than the city engineer's estimates of about $460,000 for the base project; $37,000 for the fuel truck access road; and $146,000 for expanding the pavement.

The city negotiated a 10 percent reduction with Oldcastle Southwest Group, and commission will decide whether to approve a contract with the company for more than $647,000 for the reconstruction.

Wilann Thomas, the supervisor of tourism and marketing at the Aztec Visitors Center, said the city has also been working on improving the airport's runway and pilots' lounge to make the airport more appealing.

She said the airport is important to tourism because "it brings in pilots with their own planes."

A group of pilots will land at the airport on Sept. 10 as part of an organized "fly-in." The event will allow the city to show off the airport and its recent improvements. In conjunction with the fly-in, there will be a car show, food vendors, live music and a movie.

"It's going to be an action-packed event," Ray said.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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