The Jones Memorial Airport in Bristow, OK, in coordination with the City of Bristow, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, June 26 in honor of the airport’s brand new 4,000-foot runway. The $3.9 million project began construction in 2018 to improve the safety and standards issues with the existing runway and recently saw its completion.
“Today is a significant milestone on our journey to becoming a fly-to state instead of a flyover state,” Gov. Kevin Stitt said. “Oklahoma is catching the eye of the nation as we continue to create new jobs, diversify our economy, generate innovative solutions and become a Top Ten state. In numerous national studies, company after company lists close access to a public general aviation airport as one of the top reasons they locate, stay and grow their business in a community. The Bristow airport, with its new 4,000-foot runway, will serve as a magnet to companies around the country.”
This momentous ribbon-cutting established the beginning of a new decade for the City of Bristow, allowing it to fly full speed toward the future. Those who were lucky enough to attend the ceremony received a first-class ticket to watch history in the making for the Bristow community, taking a piece of the ribbon with them – both figuratively and literally.
“An new runway in Bristow isn’t just going to benefit the local economy here, but it will benefit the entire region,” U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe said. “We’ve invested nearly $4 million on this project through a local, state and federal partnership, but that’s a worthy investment given the airport’s annual economic impact of $7.2 million. Furthermore, this project is bringing additional investments here at Bristow – a new fuel system and a new terminal building are already in the works. As the last pilot to land on the runway before the groundbreaking two years ago and the first one on the new runway today, I can’t wait to see the new opportunities this runway brings to Northeast Oklahoma.”
Sen. Inhofe piloted the first aircraft to land on the new runway. He was joined by several speakers throughout the ceremony including Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz, Secretary of Commerce Sean Kouplen, Bristow Mayor Rick Pinson and State Director of Aeronautics Victor Bird, among others.
Upon a head-turning arrival, the American, Oklahoma and City of Bristow flags were presented by Boy Scout Troop #571 of Bristow to kick off the ceremony as the Bristow High School Choir patriotically welcomed the speakers.
“The City of Bristow has truly transformed throughout the past 120 years,” Bristow Mayor Rick Pinson said. “With a long history of supporting the entirety of Oklahoma behind them, this construction represents more than just a new and more expansive runway — it signifies growth and economic opportunity right here in Bristow.”
The Jones Memorial Airport provides an annual economic impact of $7.2 million and supports more than 70 direct and indirect jobs. Among those who use the airport are Phillips Pipeline Control, Riverside British Petroleum and its biggest tenant, Consolidated Turbine Specialists, who is a large investor of the airport and has plans to start its third expansion within the next year.
The growth of the Bristow community continues to expand with the presence of Irvine, California-based aerospace company, PAS MRO, that recently purchased land near the Jones Memorial Airport and will be attending the runway expansion ceremony. This company provides services in the fields of bearings, components, assemblies and controlled inspections servicing the aircraft, marine and groundpower industries and saw the benefits of expanding their partnerships in Bristow.
In 2015, in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC) began researching the economic impact associated with aviation and aerospace in Oklahoma. Upon their findings, and due largely in part to the existing runway’s pressing safety concerns, it was decided that the Jones Memorial Airport was due for a new runway and through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program, was approved in partnership among the Federal, State and city governments.
With aerospace as Oklahoma’s second-largest industry and because aviation is essential to the state’s transportation network and economic ecosystems, the Jones Memorial Airport Runway Expansion is a significant part in moving the state’s transportation efforts forward as Oklahoma airports continue supporting non-stop commercial airline and general aviation flights that connect businesses and residents to destinations throughout the nation.