Jon Austria/The Daily Timesat the Four Corners Regional Airport, recently.
Jon Austria/The Daily Times at the Four Corners Regional Airport, recently. (Jon Austria)
FARMINGTON — The future of Four Corners Regional Airport is looking more stable according to recently released air-travel numbers.

Although city officials say there are still changes needed at the facility, they hope that 2013 may bring continued improvements.

The airport's travel numbers show that the number of departures in 2012 increased a little more than 1.5 percent from 2011. The number of arrivals increased by a little more than 4.1 percent, over the same time period.

Travel numbers for December 2012 were down slightly when compared to December 2011, said Todd Gressick, airport manager.

While Four Corners Regional Airport made numerous improvements in 2012, Gressick says there is still more that needs to be done.

"We're going to try and make some terminal improvements," he said. "We're also going to repave the taxiways. It's some routine, preventative maintenance."

Routine maintenance proved to be a critical turning point in airport operations in summer 2012.

A July 10-12 Federal Aviation Administration airport certification inspection found numerous safety and operations violations.

Markings on the runways and taxiways were not properly maintained, airport signs marking the runways and taxiways did not conform to FAA standards and pools of standing water were found on the airport tarmac.

Taxiway and runway signage was not as reflective and did not offer as much visiblity from the air as those made by FAA-approved vendors, Gressick said.


Taxiway Bravo, was found to be the most heavily damaged section of the airport. It was filled with deep cracks that allowed plants to sprout.

Routine maintenance could have prevented the cracking issue, but it had been about eight years since any sealing or resurfacing was last done, Gressick said at the time.

The FAA set two deadlines for the airport: correct the signage issues by Aug. 10 and the taxiway cracking by Sept. 10, or risk losing its operating license. Both issues were corrected before the deadlines.

Additional damage to the airport's apron area, a spot next to the terminal where planes deice, was corrected in early September 2012.

Gressick started as airport manager in June 2012.

Assistant City Manager Bob Campbell said he is pleased with the airport's numbers, but would still like to see more action to improve the facility.

"I think we have a face-lift scheduled for the terminal," he said. "That work should begin next week."

Adding development sites near the airport would also be of interest, Campbell said.

"The numbers are positive and they give us some reason to be encouraged, but we still have some issues to resolve with reliability," said Farmington Mayor Tommy Roberts. "What I would really like to focus on is fewer cancellations and delays."

Roberts said that with some work, the recent trend of improvement at the airport can be carried throughout 2013.

"Overall it's looking fairly healthy for the air service industry" in Farmington, Roberts said.

For Councilwoman Mary Fischer, too little is being done too late.

"I don't travel much, but I did travel in July and was horrified at the conditions in the terminal," she said. "That airport looks like a third-world country. Nothing's been done. To me this says we don't have any pride in our community. It looks like a city that's given up."