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Hurricane Season Brings a Flood of Activity at Ellington Airport

Designation as “Recovery Site” guarantees key role during weather emergency

Houston Airport System
July 1, 2010

© Houston Airport System
Storm damage and military aircraft were both common sites during Hurricane Ike in 2008

Weather experts are predicting a busy hurricane season for 2010, and that means Ellington Airport (EFD) is once again preparing to play a key role in the response and recovery plans being drafted for the Houston area.

With close ties to the federal government already in place, and with three active runways ranging from 4,600 to 9,000 feet in length, Ellington Airport has routinely served as a vital recovery site and staging area during previous severe storms.

“The United States Coast Guard is one of our tenants here at Ellington Airport,” says Ellington Airport General Manager Brian Rinehart. “So, when a severe storm rolls into the area, they’re already in position to stage a strong response. That’s just one of the many reasons why Ellington is so important during a weather-related crisis.”

Ellington’s role as a crisis center was at the forefront in 2008 when Hurricane Ike devastated much of the Gulf Coast region.

During the September storm, Ellington handled visits from President George W. Bush, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters, and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Cherthoff.

During the crisis, those key decision-makers were able to get a “birds-eye” view of the storms’ devastation, thanks to flights taking off from Ellington Airport, while rescue crews were also able to utilize the facilities, as they launched efforts to save homeowners who were stranded across the coastal area.

“This is the role we play each and every year,” Rinehart says. “We know that from June to December we have to be ready to roll in a moment's notice.”

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