When a Lamoni Municipal Utilities tried to trade in the older vehicle and couldn’t, another city department benefited. The used truck now becomes an airport courtesy vehicle to be used by pilots flying into Lamoni. “The airport board is working hard to upgrade and modernize our airport making the Lamoni airport a destination for this region,” Emil Segebart, Lamoni Municipal Utilities’ General Manager, said. “LMU is happy to play a small part in the process with this donation.”
Pilots flying into Lamoni can use the truck whenever they want. A key is secured in the pilot’s lounge which requires a password known to them to enter. “This donation is a critical link between Lamoni and the world,” Jordan Omstead, Airport Project Manager and City Councilman, said. “If you see the truck please welcome our guests and encourage them to return.”
The current 2,900-foot runway can only be used by small 2 to 6 place (seats) airplanes. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires 4,000 runway feet for commercial aircraft. With an eye to that goal, the Airport Commission looks to first expand the runway to 3,400 feet with plans to eventually extend it to 4,000 feet. Reaching this goal means that businesses who fly executives and cargo in and out of their headquarters and distribution centers will consider locating to Lamoni.
The first time the courtesy vehicle was used occurred over Graceland’s Homecoming weekend. “The courtesy pickup has been used many times by pilots flying to Lamoni and very much appreciated that we had this available service,” Royce Diveley, Chairperson of the Airport Commission, said. “It’s been used to attend memorial service, special meetings in Lamoni, pilots grounded overnight due to bad weather, and client meetings.”
The courtesy vehicle makes the Lamoni Airport that much more attractive to pilots. With community airports closing all around the Southern Iowa | Northern Missouri region, amenities like this increase airport usage. Increased usage means business development especially when the 4,000-foot runway can accommodate corporate aircraft. “The fact that Lamoni now has a courtesy vehicle available where business managers can step from the plane to a vehicle and then travel immediately to their destination is a huge advantage for choosing one airport over another,” Tony Crandell, City Council Liaison to the Airport Commission, said. “In the short time we have had the vehicle available, we have testimonials of appreciation and indications that those flying in will make Lamoni the airport of choice and then will travel out to their appointments. That means additional lodging, airport fuel, auto fuel, and restaurant dollars for the Lamoni community.”