Celebrating 50 Years of Service to the Community!
In the mid 1960s, forward-thinking leaders in the cities of Columbus, Starkville and West Point and the counties of Lowndes and Oktibbeha came together with the idea that a regional, commercial service airport would be of tremendous benefit to the area.
With great public support, ground was broken in 1969, and the name Golden Triangle Regional Airport, call sign GTR, was selected the following year. The original project was a $3 million investment with the communities supporting bond issues totaling $1.26 million and the rest coming from FAA and Appalachian Regional Commission grants.
On April 30, 1972, thousands gathered to celebrate the first flight. Southern Airways was the carrier. For the next few years, there were struggles getting a committed jet service carrier to provide flights, but in 1979, GTR Airport succeeded in being officially recognized as a jet port. A crowd of 4,000 gathered that day to celebrate, including Mississippi senators and Governor Bill Waller, FAA Administrator John Shaffer and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.
In 1987, the airport’s governing authority transitioned from a Commission to an Airport Authority.
A significant expansion occurred in 1994, with Mississippi governor Kirk Fordice christening the $4 million completed project.
GTR’s current commercial carrier, Delta Air Lines, began serving the Golden Triangle in 2000.
Leveraging the airport as a key asset, economic developers began marketing industrial sites surrounding the airport. In 2003, Airbus Helicopters Inc. (then American Eurocopter) became the first major industry to find its home at the airport. Since that time, other industry has grown on airport property and the surrounding corridor, including Aurora Flight Sciences/Boeing, PACCAR Engine Company, Stark Aerospace and Steel Dynamics Inc.
The Golden Triangle Regional Airport was the cornerstone project that first brought the three communities together to work in partnership with each other to achieve something greater for the region. The bond that was created continues today as they work together to promote economic development and other projects that strengthen the area as a whole.
Today, with an 8,002’ x 150’ runway and more than 1,000 acres of property, the airport is continuing to expand, grow and serve the needs of the Golden Triangle community.