On Monday, the debate was freshly renewed thanks in part to Alabama 1st District U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne.
Byrne, who uses the airport to fly back and forth to Washington, DC each week, announced his support for the move to Brookley Field during a Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce presentation.
“Why do I feel so passionately about that?” Byrne rhetorically asked during the presentation, reported WKRG. “It cuts 30 minutes on my drive each way.”
Drawing laughs from the crowd, Bryne continued to explain he thought the move would actually be a “game-changer” for the area, which he represents in Congress.
“I think it would be one of those game-changers of this area I think it hampers us not to have an airport, not at the center of our economic activity,” Byrne added.
Byrne’s spokesperson, Seth Morrow, confirmed with Alabama Today that the Congressman thinks the proposed change would benefit travelers in both Baldwin and Mobile counties by providing a more centralized location closer to downtown Mobile and major points of commerce.
That, “by moving locations, he believes we can increase travelers and potentially bring down ticket prices. He certainly understands that this is a decision for the Mobile Airport Authority and local leaders, but he has offered to provide any assistance from the federal level should they remain interested in a possible move.”
Currently, MOB is situated approximately eight miles west of I-65 and approximately 10 miles north of I-10, from the Tillman’s Corner exit. It takes commuters 25-35 minutes driving time to reach the airport, depending on traffic conditions and weather conditions.
Meanwhile, the Aeroplex sits directly off of I-10 and near I-65.
First established in 1929 as Bates Field, the Aeroplex at Brookley was Mobile’s first Municipal Airport. In 1948 it was renamed Brookley Air Force Base, but it closed 1969 due to a decision by the incoming Nixon Administration as a way to save money because of the Vietnam War.
Whether or not the proposal to move the airport moves forward thanks to Byrne’s support remains to be seen.