Farmington airport receives $1.1M federal grant

Funding will cover cost of installing drainage pipe to prevent runway erosion at the Four Corners Regional Airport

Hannah Grover
Four Corners Regional Airport is pictured on Friday. The airport has received a $1.1 million federal grant.

FARMINGTON — The Four Corners Regional Airport has received a more than $1.1 million federal grant for erosion control and other maintenance.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved more than $6.5 million for maintenance and construction projects at 17 New Mexico airports, including the airport in Farmington.

Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Reps. Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the funding in a press release Thursday afternoon.

Airport manager Mike Lewis said the Four Corners Regional Airport applies every year for the grant from the Airport Improvement Program. He said the funding the airport received will address ongoing erosion at the west end of a runway.

Because the airport is located on a mesa, storm water has eroded the slope.

"Erosion will work its way back to the runway," Lewis said.

Mike Lewis, manager of the Four Corners Regional Airport, talks on Friday about an area near a runway at the airport that needs to be repaired.

He said the airport will use the $1.1 million grant to install a drainage pipe to prevent future erosion. That work, which will take about 20 days, is expected to start in October.

"New Mexico’s airports play a key role in attracting business and tourism to New Mexico and driving our economy," Heinrich said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon. "I will continue to work to ensure that our aviation industry thrives. These federal investments will update airports, connect New Mexico’s communities to the rest of the country and improve safety. We must continue to support critical infrastructure investments in order to build long-term economic growth and job creation in our state."

A U.S. Navy Beechcraft T-6 Texan II sit on the tarmac at the Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington on Friday.

In addition to helping with tourism and business, the Four Corners Regional Airport provides a place for military training. On Friday, five U.S. Navy training planes landed at the airport on their way to Prescott, Ariz., from Corpus Christi, Texas.

Student naval aviator Chris Taylor was among the pilots-in-training who landed at the airport.

"I'd fly kites for the Navy if they asked me to," Taylor said after landing.

He added that flying is one of his passions.

"The moment you take off, you feel free," he said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.