Crash of Flight 5191

Runway to re-open in November

Blue Grass Airport has resumed taxiway construction delayed by the crash that killed 49 people on Aug. 27. And the shorter runway that Comair 5191 mistakenly used will re-open by Thanksgiving, airport officials said.

All construction was delayed by Blue Grass Airport and by court order shortly after the crash so the airport could be examined by experts on behalf of victims' families who have filed lawsuits.

Comair Flight 5191 crashed after the pilots took off from the 3,500-foot Runway 26 instead of the 7,000-foot runway 22. Runway 26 has been closed since the crash.

Construction on the taxiway resumed about 10 days ago and should continue for 20 to 30 days, airport director Michael Gobb said.

The project will build a new taxiway connection to the 7,000-foot runway for commercial flights and demolish the short taxiway connection that Flight 5191 should have used.

Runway 26 should reopen by Thanksgiving, Gobb said, and it will accommodate smaller, private airplanes that make up about 60 percent of the airport's operations.

"That was always the plan," Gobb said yesterday. "It's essential that we open A-26 for general aviation."

Eventually, that runway will be closed, relocated and lengthened to 5,000 feet. Runway 26, which needs a major overhaul, has not been substantially changed since it was built in the 1940s.

The new runway will run roughly parallel to Versailles Road and allow even more general-aviation traffic. It should be completed by 2009, in time for the 2010 World Equestrian Games, which Gobb said will bring an increase in private airplane traffic.

In related news, lawyers and experts for the estates of Comair Flight 5191 victims were in Georgia yesterday to inspect the remains of the Flight 5191 plane, a Bombardier CRJ 100, according to a notice filed in one of the crash lawsuits. The notice, which was sent to 65 attorneys representing victims' families, Comair and the Blue Grass Airport, stated that the experts would examine the plane, which is being stored in Georgia, on Wednesday and yesterday.

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