The Delaware County Airport Commission spent much of its Aug. 27 meeting talking about the future of the Delaware Municipal Airport and ways to spur continued growth.

The Delaware County Airport Commission spent much of its Aug. 27 meeting talking about the future of the Delaware Municipal Airport and ways to spur continued growth.

"Do we want the airport to grow and what type of traffic do we want to attract?" commission member John Lewis asked his fellow commissioners. Should they look at smaller planes, charter operations, helicopters, medical evacuation companies or corporate jets? he asked.

Commission chairman Jim Moore, who is the city council's representative on the commission, said all of that information is in a 20-year master plan, now in its third year, approved by the Federal Aviation Authority.

"I want to have all of the things you talk about ... but they need to come one at a time with a gradual growth," he said.

Expanding the airport takes money, Moore said, and the city has no funds to build new hangars to house more corporate planes.

The airport has grown over the past 10 years, he continued. In 1999, 26 propeller planes called the airport home. Now there are 85 prop planes and three jets.

Lewis said he was just looking for some direction when he talked to people about the airport, particularly companies who might be interested in housing a plane there.

"I want to know whether to encourage them or tell them to go to Bolton Field or OSU (Don Scott Field)."

What they should be looking at is a diverse collection of tenants, said Tim Browning, the city's public works director.

"In my opinion an airport's longevity is based on diversity ... with diversity we will still be able to pay the bills," even in an economic downturn, he said.

One recent event may well spur some additional business, Browning told the commission.

Since Ohio State's Don Scott Field closed its south runway for rehabilitation in June about a third of the jets diverted from the airport have landed in Delaware, he said.

"The majority of the pilots had never been here," said Kevin Piatt, airport operations supervisor. Many were bringing in golfers playing the Muirfield golf course, he said.

Browning heard from people associated with the course that they were impressed with level of service the airport provides, both to pilots and passengers. They liked the ease of getting passengers on and off the aircraft and the "pleasant" ride from the airport to Muirfield.

"We hope all that will lead to return customers," Browning said. "We will never be as active as OSU's airport but we would like some of the business."

OSU's runway has been closed since the beginning of June and is expected to open soon, he said. The additional usage has led to increased fuel sales at the Delaware airport. Browning expects August to be the top fuel sales month the airport has ever had.