Board member Duwayne Dumas made the motion to approve the $90,000 expenditure and John Brockman offered the second when the BDA board met Thursday evening, June 17.
The motion passed without opposition.
BDA Executive Director Joe B. Montez said it is important that the approach development be meticulously done because it has to meet the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Montez said the work will end up costing the BDA about $50,000 more than he had expected. But getting Chase Field rated for Instrument Flight Rules is important so that pilots can land there using instruments.
Currently, Chase’s industrial airport is approved only for visual flight rules.
Board President Laura Fischer said it appears likely that the BDA will have to spend $50,000 of its reserves to pay for the study.
However, Montez said the authority still has $60,000 left over from a $1.25 million investment made by Chase Field tenant Dan A. Hughes to provide runway lighting and pavement improvements.
“Hopefully, we can bring the costs down,” Montez told board members.
Board members asked how likely it would be for the airport at Chase to become a public facility.
Montez said that process could take three to four years. However, if the airport is upgraded from its current status as an industrial airport to a public airport, anybody would be able to land at the facility.
Montez told the board that he would be in Washington, D.C., at the end of June and he would ask the FAA about the benefits of being a public airport.
One of the benefits could be placing the airport on the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Getting on the NPIAS would make Chase Field eligible for federal funding for improvements to the airport facilities.
Part of that process also would include making Chase Field the municipal airport for Beeville and Bee County. But that would require the City of Beeville to relinquish its desire to maintain Beeville Municipal Airport as the city’s primary aviation facility.
“I think that’s where we’re headed,” Montez said. He said that a recent airport plan completed by Texas A&M University had recommended that Chase Field take that step.
Montez said the next significant step in getting Chase Field rated for instrument approaches is to complete the process of getting the property on the Global Positioning System navigation system.
That is done somewhere else, not at Chase Field, he said. It involves simply marking Chase as a spot on the map. And that will cost $190,000 “just to mark a spot on the map.”
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.