At the end of December, giant x's will be painted across the runways of Vista Field. With one small airport closing, where will all the planes go?
TRI-CITIES, WA – At the end of December, giant x's will be painted across the runways of Vista Field. With one small airport closing, where will all the planes go?
The closure of Vista Field made headlines back in April and now we are just days away from the official shut down of the Kennewick airport. The pilots that fly around our area will now be looking to neighboring airports to park their planes and new space is already opening up to fit them in.
"We're working on a very long list of you have to do this and then that and the next step," said Tana Bader Inglima. "It's not just as simple as turning the closed sign on the door."
The port will have to tear down the remaining structures including hangers and towers. The port of Kennewick has been posting signs and sending out notices to let people know that the airport will no longer operate come the end of the year.
"This hasn't been a surprise and so the other airports have been able to accommodate," said Bader Inglima.
The airport in Richland is already building up their storage space.
"We have four hanger sites available now," said Stuart Dezember. "We have three of those leased up already and one in negotiations."
The Richland Airport is one of two leased by the Port of Benton, which is funded primarily by the FAA. Port officials say while Vista Field looks a bit empty, in Richland they have already seen a major increase in the number of planes coming in and out of their hangers.
"The general aviation has really started to pick up here recently with the light sport and experimental aircrafts we have located here," said Dezember.
"I think people recognize the airports closing," said Bader Inglima. "It's getting close to the end of the year. They're making other plans."
Fuel sales at Vista Field were so low in the month of November that the contractor who supplies the fuel ended services at the end of the month. The airport will close for good at the end of the workday on December 31st.