March 29, 2017

Plans to build a general aviation airport in Oak Ridge, TN are moving forward, with the hope that such a facility will attract business to the area, as well as create jobs.

“Airports have proven that they create jobs, grow economies and stimulate prosperity,” said Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority (MKAA) President Bill Marrison. “The Oak Ridge Airport can be a crucial tool in the revitalization efforts underway in the Heritage Center Industrial Park by encouraging new business development and providing highly sought after access for corporate aircraft. The proposed airport will also act as a gateway to the Oak Ridge community by opening new opportunities in tourism and job creation.”

Working with community partners since 2009, MKAA plans to submit its general aviation Airport Layout Plan for FAA approval in April. MKAA hopes to receive approval by the end of 2018, said Jeff Smith, chairman of MKAA’s general aviation committee, and the project will “be ready for construction at the end of 2018 or in early 2019.”

MKAA said the Oak Ridge airport could be open and operating by the end of 2021.

Covering 171 acres, the airport will have a 5,000-by-75-foot runway and about 40 hangars. It will be an economic generator, brining jobs, businesses and visitors to the area from across the nation.

Building an airport at the East Tennessee Technology Park has long been part of a reindustrialization plan that began at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) 33,000-acre Oak Ridge Reservation, built during World War II as the administrative and military headquarters of the Manhattan Project.

The Oak Ridge uranium processing facility closed in 1985, and the DOE is completing an EPA-approved site cleanup. The reindustrialization effort is also preserving several historical elements as part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, which also has sites in Washington and New Mexico.

Learn more about the Oak Ridge Airport Initiative.