June 21, 2002

CONTACT: Christopher White
PHONE: 404-305-5100
AFTER HOURS: 404-305-5180

Olive Branch Airport Manager
Receives FAA Award

The Federal Aviation Administration Southern Region Airports Division has selected David Taylor, Manager of the Olive Branch Airport in Olive Branch Miss., as the 2001 General Aviation Airport Manager of the Year.

"David Taylor’s tireless efforts to continually improve the Olive Branch Airport and his contribution to the general aviation communities of Mississippi and Tennessee have been well documented," said Rusty Chapman, Manager, Airports Division, FAA Southern Region. "He is greatly deserving of this award."

Mr. Taylor has served as the manager of the Olive Branch Airport since 1984. In that time he has overseen many major improvements to the airport, including; extensions of the runway and parallel taxiway, numerous upgrades to the navigational aids serving arriving and departing aircraft and the current construction of a control tower.

"Through Mr. Taylor’s leadership, the Olive Branch Airport has been able to substantially increase the safety of its operations, even while the number of aircraft using the airport has increased," Chapman said.

FAA recently presented the award to Mr. Taylor at the Mississippi Airports Association Conference in Natchez.

Olive Branch Airport Facts

  • Belz Enterprises purchased Olive Branch Airport in 1983.

  • The airport is a subsidiary of Metro Industrial Park and is located only 10 miles from Memphis International Airport in Desoto County, MS.

  • It is the second busiest airport in Mississippi.

  • Average of 315 take-offs and landings per day.

  • Forecasts indicate that annual aircraft operations will increase from 115,000 in 2002 to 160,770 by 2017.

  • Navigational aids include high intensity runway lights, visual approach slope indicators, runway end identifier lights and rotating beacons. The airport is also served by five instrument approaches.

  • Landside facilities include a general aviation terminal, 24 conventional hangars, 26 T-hangar units and 140 paved tie-down spaces.

  • The airport accounts for 50 full-time jobs.

  • Olive Branch Airport is home to two flight schools, two aircraft maintenance shops, an avionics shop and an aircraft interior shop.

  • Handles overflow from Memphis International Airport.

  • When Olive Branch Airport received status as a designated reliever to Memphis International in 1986, it became eligible to receive federal funding.

  • In 1986, Olive Branch Airport became the first privately owned airport in the FAA’s Southern region to receive AIP (Airport Improvement Program) funds. The first grant allowed the airport to extend the runway from 4,000 feet to 5,000 feet. Since then, the airport has completed the following projects under the AIP program:
    • A second runway extension to 6,000 feet.
    • Five major ramp extensions with a sixth under construction.
    • Installation of security and wildlife fencing around airport property.
    • Rehabilitation of all airport lighting, including runway lighting.
    • Installed AWOS (Automated Weather Observation System).
    • Resurfaced and strengthened existing ramps, taxiways and the runway.
    • Currently underway is the addition of a new 250,000-square-foot ramp, two new 36,000-square-foot holding pads at each end of the taxiway, extension of the runway safety area, and remarking the runway.

  • Grants provided through AIP are 90 percent FAA funded. Airport sponsors or owners are required to provide the additional 10 percent.

  • In 2000, due in part to efforts made by David Taylor, Mississippi changed its laws to allow privately owned airports that qualify for federal funds to qualify for state funds. Until then, only public airports could receive state funding.

  • Olive Branch Airport has been selected to participate in a new federal program called the Pilot Program for Cost Sharing of Air Traffic Modernization Projects.
    • Approximately 92 percent of airports do not have control towers.
    • Under the Pilot Program, the FAA will provide 1/3 of the costs to build a new air traffic control tower for Olive Branch Airport. The other 2/3 of costs will be provided by the city of Olive Branch and the airport owners.
    • Because of its partial public funding, the tower will be public under the ownership of the City of Olive Branch, while the airport remains private.
    • Only three other airports were awarded grant money under the Pilot Program. They were Chicago O’Hare International Airport, DeKalb-Peachtree Airport in Atlanta, and Charlotte Douglass International Airport.