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EDITORIAL: Airport’s runway is ready; let’s seize the moment

September 29, 2016 GMT

If you’re looking for an older facility ready for a reboot, look no further than the Jack Brooks Regional Airport. After six long months, reconstruction of its primary runway has been completed. The job took longer than expected because of rainy weather, and sometimes American Airlines had to bump passengers because of lower weight limits for the secondary runway.

Unless you’re the type of passenger who likes vouchers for the inconvenience of getting bumped - and there are a few - a delayed flight is about as much fun as a parking ticket. Most travelers need to be somewhere at a certain time for a reason; getting there late is nothing but a problem.

Finally, however, this roadblock has been cleared. Now it’s time for American and Jefferson County commissioners to refocus on their common goal of getting every flight out on time with no glitches.

And that happens a lot. Our airport, like a lot of public facilities, is not as bad as some critics make it out to be. But no passenger likes flight delays. If you depart 10 times with no problems but get snarled on the 11th, that’s the one you remember - and tell people about.

Realistically speaking, every airport will have some flight delays, just as every highway will occasionally have some traffic jams. But they need to be as few as possible, and taxpayers need to have the sense that the facility is being run by professionals who are doing everything possible to make everything happen the way it should.

That’s not just being polite. Fewer problems encourage more to use the airport - and its free parking - thus generating more profits. The reverse is true too.

Commissioners need to actively monitor the new situation. A lot of places would love to have an airport like this. We’ve got one, and we need to make sure its promise is fulfilled.