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$120M in federal funding headed to Georgia airports; see how Bainbridge is impacted

Posted at 6:16 PM, May 20, 2024

  • Decatur County Industrial Air Park staff say it cost $800,000 annually to operate the aiport.
  • New federal funding will go to Georgia airports to improve the infrastructure.
  • Watch the story to learn why the airport helps support local visitation.


Federal funding is now on the radar for airports across the state of Georgia.

I'm tracking why more money for the local airport means more profits for local businesses.

"[They will] stay in a hotel.. They will rent cars.. Things like that, [and] go to our restaurants and eat. All this trickles down to our local economy,” said Industrial park manager, Tommy Johnson.

Johnson is explaining how visitors often fly into the Decatur County Industrial Air Park to enjoy the city of Bainbridge. Whether it's hunting season or folks are just craving one of our city landmarks.

Now with new federal funding approved by the Georgia legislature $120 mil. Dollars will be distributed to airports statewide.

"That saves our tax paying citizens a lot of money,” according to Johnson.

Johnson said it cost over $800,000 to operate the airport each year.

He told me staff here do not have to line up and wait when it comes to grant funding because the air park receives money from the county, city and state.

However Johnson said other neighboring airports aren't so lucky because they may not receive funds on the city or county level.

"That $150,000.. That's the only operating money they get,” said Johnson.

Johnson is speaking on the standard federal operations money provided to Georgia airports.

He tells me the airport was once an army air base which is why the runways are larger and can accept jet planes but this also means it costs more money for upgrades.

"Now that we have the federal funds to help us we can take that old runway up and put down a new fresh paved runway,” said Johnson.

I reached out to the city after the additional federal funding was announced. The city released a statement that reads in part quote:

"Our county airport is a critical asset for both tourism and broader economic development in our region. It serves as a gateway for visitors, boosting local businesses, hospitality, and attractions."

Grant funding may be used to upgrade runways, taxiways, air-transit connection and improve airport safety.

The Airport Infrastructure Grant will be awarded within the 2024 fiscal year.

The amount of the money headed to the county airport has not been released just yet.