The property that used to be home to Cleveland’s hub for air traffic, Hardwick Field, may officially be shut down as soon as the end of June, an official at the Cleveland Regional Jetport said.
Mark Fidler, director of marketing and operations at the airport, gave members of the Cleveland Media Association a look at how the airport was constructed and glimpses at what the future held for at Cleveland’s current airport earlier this month.
While Hardwick Field has been closed to the vast majority of air traffic, some pilots have still been keeping planes in hangars on the property.
Fidler said the airport has been “phasing out” services to Hardwick with the hope of “shooting for a June 30 closure date.”
Once it is closed, the land on which it sits will be auctioned off under the guidance of the Federal Aviation Administration.
For now, he said the main focus has been on increasing traffic at the new Jetport.
Fidler said the Cleveland Regional Jetport had features that made such increases possible while Hardwick had limited growth.
“It [Hardwick Field] was just old and tired,” Fidler said.
The new airport construction gave Cleveland a runway that was over a mile long, allowing pilots to take off from and land on a piece of pavement that was 5,500-feet long as opposed to the Hardwick runway’s 3,300 feet.
The new runway also had thicker pavement, which allowed for runways to handle the weight of jets landing and taking off from the airport.
The larger property has also allowed for the possibility of expansion as the airport’s traffic grows. Some pilots have moved their planes to the Cleveland Regional Jetport, but others are in the process of constructing new hangars there.
“Hardwick’s landlocked,” Fidler said. “There’s no room for expansion.“
He said the airport has already seen increased air traffic from planes owned by companies such as Whirlpool and Merck. The Jetport has reported to the FAA that it has 26 flights per day on average.
Fidler said he expected the number to rise as air travel continues to increase because of the allowance of jet traffic.
In response to a question at the meeting regarding car traffic around the airport, he said there is a possibility that Dry Valley Road, where the airport is located, could be worked on in the future to accommodate the increased traffic predicted.
“The state is talking about enhancing this road,” Fidler said. “I’m sure widening is certainly one of the components.”
He also spoke of future plans for the Jetport, including the hope of adding “new global positioning instrument-based approaches” meant to better assist pilots with landings this summer.
Fidler also showed people at the meeting what the Jetport looked like when it was under construction.
He said the new terminal could become an additional place for community events because it houses three meeting rooms that can be rented by members of the community.
The Cleveland Media Association is a group for communication professionals in the Cleveland area. The group meets on the first Friday of each month.