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What is the Pueblo Memorial Airport (PUB) Master Plan?

An Airport Master Plan is a comprehensive, airport-wide study with the goal of developing a list of projects to meet future aviation demands over the next 20 years. This Airport Master Plan is PUB’s first comprehensive planning study update since the 2007 Airport Layout Plan Update and Narrative Report.

Why is the Pueblo Memorial Airport preparing an Airport Master Plan?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends that public-use airports prepare a new airport master plan every seven to ten years or as local aviation conditions change. Since the Pueblo Memorial Airport did not have a current Airport Master Plan, it initiated this Study to gauge and support future demand, continue safe and efficient operations, and address changes in the aviation industry at the local and national levels. This Study updated outdated information in the previous Plan and identified possible new projects that will support the Airport’s long-term viability and enhance facility safety, while supporting economic development and the Airport’s commitment to be a good neighbor. Additionally, the FAA requires a current Airport Layout Plan (an output of a Master Plan) for an airport to remain eligible for federal grant funds.

What is the goal/purpose of the Airport Master Plan?

The primary goal of an airport master plan is to provide guidance for future airport development necessary to accommodate forecasted demand. This is accomplished by establishing development parameters and timelines that coincide with effectively satisfying forecasted demand. This Study recommends future improvements that enhance operational safety, align with the Airport’s goals, and follow federal, state, and local regulatory guidelines. The Study also addresses the Airport’s operational, maintenance, and improvement considerations; development priorities; natural environment and land use compatibility considerations; and factors related to proper financial management to enable the Airport to meet operational and capital improvement fiscal needs. The PUB Airport Master Plan aids in fiscal responsibility, reactions to industry uncertainties, and balancing Airport improvements with local concerns.

Why is it important to plan for the future of Pueblo Memorial Airport (PUB)?

PUB has a significant economic impact and economic contribution to the Pueblo community as well as the statewide economy. According to the 2020 Colorado Aviation Economic Impact Study, PUB’s total economic impact is comprised of 775 jobs, $38.66 million in payroll, $55.21 million in value-added impacts (this is a measure of the economic productivity of each aviation-related business establishment, calculated as business revenues earned minus the costs of purchasing goods and services from other businesses), and $103.71 million in business revenues. As one of 14 commercial service airports serving the State of Colorado, PUB is an important economic asset that needs to be protected. Proper short- and long-term planning ensures this asset will continue to serve the needs of the City and County of Pueblo.

What are the components of an Airport Master Plan? What is the process?

The Airport Master Plan process is guided by the FAA and ultimately results in projections of future passenger and aviation activity growth and an updated Airport Layout Plan (ALP). The primary components of the Pueblo Memorial Airport (PUB) Master Plan are:

  • Inventory of Existing Conditions – documentation of PUB’s existing assets, facilities, activities, conditions, and environmental resources to establish an informational baseline for the Master Plan Study.

  • Forecasts of Aviation Activity – development of a series of aviation demand projections to identify growth trends and changing conditions.

  • Facility Requirements – examination of how well the existing facilities can meet current and projected levels of aviation demand.

  • Airport Development Alternatives and Evaluation – development and analysis of alternative solutions to meet defined facility requirements for the 20-year planning period.

  • Implementation Program – development of a capital improvement plan that identifies funding sources and project sequencing for the short term (1 to 5 years), intermediate term (6 to 10 years), and long term (11 to 20 years).

  • Airport Layout Plan – updated airport plans showing the location, configuration, and dimensions of all existing and future airport facilities, safety zones, imaginary airspace surfaces, and land use and zoning surrounding the airport.

There are several additional components that contribute to the PUB Master Plan study:

  • Capacity Analysis – a review and analysis of the existing runway configuration to determine its theoretical capacity and limitations. The capacity of PUB’s existing facilities was compared to the forecasted demand and surpluses and deficits were identified.

  • Recycling and Solid Waste Management Plan – an assessment of PUB’s current solid waste recycling, reuse, and waste reduction efforts (if any) and program performance, along with development of recycling program recommendations.

  • Public Input – the community was involved in reviewing alternatives and working papers throughout the planning process and feedback was reviewed and considered in the development of the final plan.

The process of the PUB Master Plan Study is illustrated below:

PUB MP Chart_rev2.png

What happens at the conclusion of the Master Plan?

It is anticipated that the Final Airport Master Plan will be brought before the Pueblo City Council for adoption in 2022. Once approved, the Airport Master Plan will serve as a policy document that sets forth the conceptual framework for possible future airport development.

What is the project schedule? How long will it take?

The notice to proceed with the project was given in March of 2020, which began the investigation phase of the approximately 18-month-long master plan process. The project was substantially completed in October of 2021 (see project schedule below). Working papers that supported the planning process were developed and released periodically throughout the project. Please refer to the project schedule for approximate timing of working papers and public open house events. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the Airport Layout Plan in May of 2022.

PUB MP Schedule (2021-9-20).png

Who is preparing the Airport Master Plan?

Following a qualifications-based selection process, Mead & Hunt was selected to prepare the PUB Airport Master Plan. Mead & Hunt is an employee-owned firm with 900 planners, engineers, architects, scientists, and support staff in offices nationwide, including more than 200 aviation professionals. Staff in Mead & Hunt’s Denver office led the PUB Master Plan study with support from the following firms:

How is public involvement being integrated into the development of the Airport Master Plan?

The master planning process is, by nature, interactive. A multi-faceted public and stakeholder involvement program was implemented so that interested parties had opportunities to participate and be heard at key points throughout the course of the study. During the Master Plan process, the Airport engaged the community through public open houses, media (newspaper), social media, the Airport’s Master Plan website, and e-news updates. 

What can I do to stay informed and provide input?

Community participation and involvement was a key component of this Plan. Airport stakeholders and members of the public were able to send us comments and attend public meetings to learn more about the Airport and the Master Plan. We offered the following ways to be involved in the planning process:

  • Check out the project website. Find the latest project information as well as background info, the project schedule, engagement opportunities, and public project documents at your fingertips.

  • Sign up to receive our email updates. During the planning process, the project website contained a link and information on how to sign up to get the latest project information delivered right to your inbox. 

  • Read the draft working papers. Current plan information was posted on the Pueblo Memorial Airport website throughout the course of the project. Draft working papers were revised and incorporated into the Final Master Plan.

  • Follow us on social media. The Fly Pueblo page on Facebook provided project status updates and information on community engagement events.

  • Watch for us in the news. We announced public open house meetings through local media outlets.

  • Attend an open house event. The public was able to join us to learn about the project and provide input. See project schedule for timing of these events.

  • Have questions or comments? Interested parties were able to submit their thoughts anytime to the planning team.

Will capacity at the Airport be considered?

Yes, airside capacity (runways and taxiways) was considered due to the significant increases in flight training activity at the Airport. Alternatives to enhance airside capacity were analyzed in the Master Plan.

I’m concerned about noise. How will that be addressed in the Plan?

While the Airport Master Plan does not constitute a noise study, the potential for changes in the noise environment as a result of various development alternatives were considered.

Who is paying for this study?

The Airport Master Plan was 90 percent funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with a 5 percent local match from the City of Pueblo and a 5 percent match from the Colorado Department of Transportation/Division of Aeronautics.

Who will pay for the projects recommended in the Airport Master Plan?

Users of airports, including private pilots and corporate aircraft users, pay for the costs of developing the United States' National Airspace System (NAS) and a portion of public-use airports. Like the national highway system, much of airport infrastructure is paid for with revenues from several aviation-user taxes on items such as airline fares, air freight, and aviation fuel, which are deposited in the federal aviation trust fund for the purpose of improving the nation's aviation infrastructure.

Certain types of planning and development projects at airports that are part of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) receive federal funding from FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants, as well as state funding from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Division of Aeronautics. As a non-hub airport that is part of the NPIAS, the federal share of AIP-eligible project costs at PUB is 90 percent. The remaining portion generally comes from CDOT and local matching funds. Ultimately, Pueblo Memorial Airport users fund the local share for improvements through rent, fees, fuel sales, and purchases at the Airport.

What is the FAA’s role in the Airport Master Plan process?

The FAA has two official roles during the Airport Master Plan study:

  • FAA reviews and approves the aviation forecasts (the projected growth of aviation activity); and

  • FAA formally approves the Airport Layout Plan (ALP) for airspace and design standards. 

Additionally, the FAA serves in a supportive advisory role during the preparation of the Draft Airport Master Plan. The FAA may provide comments on the Airport Master Plan’s content, findings, and recommendations, and may offer technical assistance and support. Since the Airport Master Plan is considered a local policy/guidance document, the FAA does not formally approve the Final Airport Master Plan.

What is an ALP?

An Airport Layout Plan (ALP) serves as the “blueprint” for an airport and shows:

  • Boundaries and proposed additions to all areas owned or controlled by the sponsor for airport purposes.

  • The location and nature of existing and proposed airport facilities and structures.

  • The location on the airport of existing and proposed non-aviation areas and improvements thereon. 

The broader term “Airport Layout Plan Drawing Set” is used to describe several pages of drawings that serve as a graphical representation of a wide range of information and details related to airport facilities, proposed development, airspace, land use concerns, and property holdings. ALP drawing sets are prepared in accordance with strict Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and require FAA approval.

Once the Plan is completed, when will improvements be made at the Airport?

The Final Airport Master Plan includes a list of potential airport improvements based on identified needs and a draft projected schedule for making them, but actual design and construction of improvements will be determined through a future decision-making and public feedback process. Prior to any project being implemented, three criteria must be met: 1) There must be demonstrated demand for the project; 2) Funding must be identified; and
3) An environmental review document must be prepared, and clearance obtained.

Are additional planning studies necessary before beginning a recommended airport improvement project?

Yes, additional studies may be necessary before a project depicted on the Master Plan is implemented.  FAA’s approval of the ALP signifies only that there are no safety concerns related to the proposed Airport Master Plan and that recommendations generally conform with FAA standards. At a minimum, these usually include National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation, and any other studies needed to satisfy required permit applications.

What are the different design standards the Airport must consider?

There are many dimensional criteria standards that apply to airports; however, the primary standards to consider are the:

  • Runway Safety Area (RSA) The RSA is the primary safety area surrounding the runway.  It enhances the safety of aircraft in the event they undershoot, overrun, or veer off the runway, and it provides greater accessibility for firefighting and rescue equipment during such incidents. The RSA standard is the least flexible.

  • Runway Object Free Area (ROFA) The ROFA standard requires clearing the ROFA of any above-ground objects that are non-essential for air navigation or aircraft ground maneuvering purposes. 

  • Runway Protection Zone (RPZ) The RPZ’s function is to enhance the protection of people and property on the ground.

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