Brian Hicks, left, manager of safety and air side operations, and Stephen Burbridge, manager of infrastructure at the Gander, Newfoundland Airport, came to Albany recently to study and ask questions about the new terminal at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport. The Canadians saw photos of the Albany terminal in a trade magazine. (Special photo: Dr. Charles Gillespie)
ALBANY — Southwest Georgia Regional Airport officials got to show off their new terminal to some special guests recently, as the managers of infrastructure and safety and air side operations for the Gander, Newfoundland Airport came to Albany to inspect the facility.
Airport Director Yvette Aehle and Albany-Dougherty Aviation Commission board member Dr. Charles Gillespie gave Brian Hicks and Stephen Burbridge a tour of the new facility, offering input that the Canadian officials hope to use when they build their own new terminal soon.
“They wanted to see the facility, but they also wanted to talk with us about the things that did and didn’t work during the construction phase,” Aehle said. “They’re building a new terminal, and they want to downsize their facility. Like us, they looked at renovation and new construction, and they decided building a new building is more economical.”
The Newfoundlanders saw photographs of the Albany terminal in the Airport Improvement trade magazine and decided to reach out to Albany officials.
“(Hicks and Burbridge) called Yvette and asked if they could visit, and she called me and asked if I wanted to help her give them a tour,” Gillespie, who has served on the Aviation Commission for 11 years, said. “I was glad to be a part of it; I think it’s important to take any opportunity to share with others.”
Gillespie, an avid traveler and photographer, took the opportunity to share with the Canadians on another level.
“I noticed they were taking photographs with a Blackberry-like camera, and I knew they wouldn’t get as good of images as they would with a 35 millimeter camera,” the retired physician said. “So I got with David Hicks, who teaches a photography class at Darton (State College), and we went through and picked out photos we’d taken from the facility’s groundbreaking to the grand opening.
“David had had one of his classes take photos at the airport, and so he had issues with releases. So around 99 percent of the 200 or so photos we chose were ones I’d taken. I put them all on a disc and sent copies to the folks in Newfoundland. I also gave one to each member of the Aviation Commission.”
A Photo Gallery of the pictures taken by Gillespie and Hicks is being prepared for the AlbanyHerald.com website.
Gillespie said he’s pretty confident the Canadian airport officials left with good impressions of the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport terminal and their visit to Albany.
“”Put it this way,” Gillespie said of Burbridge and Hicks. “They’ve already sent us an invitation to come up for their ribbon-cutting when they get their terminal built.”