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Atlanta South Regional Airport gets a manager

Special Photo
Kevin Donahue was named Airport Manager at the Atlanta South Regional Airport, formerly known as Tara Field, it was announced this week.

Special Photo Kevin Donahue was named Airport Manager at the Atlanta South Regional Airport, formerly known as Tara Field, it was announced this week.

The new head of Henry County’s Atlanta South Regional Airport said he plans to focus on economic development opportunities in his new role as airport manager at the Southern Crescent-area facility.

“Airports are job creators, and they also have a good economic impact on the area and the citizenry. This airport is well-suited to do that for Henry County, and everyone’s excited about the possibilities,” said Kevin Donahue. He was named Airport Manager at the Atlanta South Regional Airport, formerly known as Tara Field, it was announced this week.

Donahue was appointed to the managerial post by AvPORTS, the airport management company which oversees the facility. He said he is looking forward to bringing his knowledge and experience to Henry County.

“My first priority is to keep the airport safe and secure, and for preparing it for the eventuality of rebuilding the airport and transforming it into a first-class general aviation and corporate airport for Henry County and the Atlanta Region,” said Donahue.

His experience in managing airports includes five years with AvPORTS at Albany International, and three years at San Jose International Airport, according to Henry County spokesperson, Julie Hoover-Ernst.

“He also has a wealth of knowledge in the airline industry, which includes 20 years of airline experience with AirCal and American Airlines and 35 years of flying experience, logging more than 3,000 hours, including 1,500 as a flight instructor,” Hoover-Ernst said. “He will be permanently relocating from Albany, N.Y., to focus his attention on Henry County’s Airport.”

Hoover-Ernst said having a full-time airport manager at the Atlanta South Regional Airport, will allow AvPORTS to focus on needed improvements.

“These plans include extending the runway from 4,500 feet to 5,501 feet, and installing an instrument landing system and security fencing around the entire perimeter of the airfield property,” Hoover-Ernst said. “All of these projects are expected to be complete by 2014, and will be funded almost entirely by [the Georgia Department of Transportation] and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Once these improvements are made, there is an enormous opportunity for direct economic growth within the aerospace industry in Henry County, including the creation of high-paying jobs in airframe, mechanical systems and avionics repair businesses.”

Last year, Henry County commissioners acquired the 542-acre airport, located in Hampton, from neighboring Clayton County. The total sale price was $17.7 million, with the FAA kicking in $15 million of the total, and Henry County paying $2.7 million. The property has been independently appraised at more than $25 million, according to county officials.