Anderson has big plans for LaGrange-Callaway Airport

Published 8:57 am Wednesday, January 31, 2024

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LaGrange-Callaway Airport’s new manager, Troy Anderson, has big plans for the airport that could lead to major opportunities and increased revenue for Troup County.

Anderson, who graduated from Georgia Tech, began the early stages of his career as a commissioned officer in the Navy in 1993, actively serving in the field of aviation.

“When I was given the opportunity to either navigate ships for a living or submarines, or other activities, aviation appealed to me more than any other,” Anderson said. “It’s hard to beat flying an aircraft, especially helicopters. It’s awesome.”

After nearly three decades of service, Anderson retired in May of 2021 and began exploring different opportunities outside of the military. In November 2023, he was offered the opportunity to take on the airport manager role.

“I love it. It’s hard to beat this scenery and the host of characters that come through here, and the folks who work here,” Anderson said.

Anderson said he plans to make several improvements to the airport with the help of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some plans include rehabilitating one of the airport’s taxiways, replacing outdated taxiway lighting fixtures and improving other key areas of infrastructure within the airport.

One of Anderson’s long-term plans includes clearing obstructions that would make the airport safer.

“A lot of the trees that are surrounding the airport have gotten to a height where they need to be either cut down completely or trimmed to a sufficient height to provide adequate safety standards for aviators and planes that are coming into the airport,” Anderson said.

The LaGrange-Callaway Airport creates a vast amount of revenue for Troup County through hangar leasing and the sale of fuel. According to records, within the last two years, the average revenue from fuel sales was approximately $725,000, and the average revenue from hangar leasing was approximately $242,000.

Anderson explained the county utilizes the revenue from ad valorem taxes collected from the leased hangars. To increase revenue flow to the community, he plans to add larger hangars to the airport with one hangar already in the process of being constructed.

Within the next two years, Anderson said he plans to build more temporary hangars to support the rising demand of aircraft owners. Adding more hangars will also allow the airport more opportunities to sell fuel.

“Right now, we’ve got a waiting list of about 50 people who want to protect their aircraft,” Anderson said. “We see the need for more hangars, but it takes time to be able to get FAA approval, the Georgia Department of Transportation approval, along with the resourcing to either lease the land for folks to come in and build or for us to build and then lease back that property to protect their aircraft.”

In addition to making improvements to the airport, Anderson hopes to obtain his flight instructor certification to help those who also have a passion for aviation become licensed.

“At some point in the near future, I intend on hopefully getting my flight instructor certification through the FAA, so I can start getting back to my grassroots of flying,” Anderson said. “I haven’t flown since 2013.”

To help grow a stronger connection with the community, Anderson encourages visitors to stop by and see the airport for themselves to learn what it has to offer.

“This airport is kind of hidden, it’s kind of a Sleepy Hollow unless you have any business coming out here, so you really don’t know that this place exists,” Anderson said. “We have three flight schools here that operate and if there’s any interest in understanding aviation or learning how to fly, people need to take the opportunity to come out and take a look.”