MANHATTAN, K.S. (KSNT) – K-State fall sports teams, and visiting opponents, will have to find another way to get to and from Manhattan for the next month.

Manhattan Regional Airport’s runway was supposed to be ready for takeoff on Sep. 6, but unexpected construction delays have pushed the completion date back to Sep. 25. K-State Athletic Director Gene Taylor told 27 News that teams still plan to travel, they’re just going to have to make other arrangements.

“It’s absolutely going to affect visiting teams coming in for some of those early football games,” Taylor said.

However, football won’t be the only Wildcat squad affected.

“Whether it’s recruiting travel or staff travel have already been changed to Kansas City from earlier flights out of Manhattan,” Taylor said. “And obviously volleyball, or whoever is traveling around that time is going to be affected as well.”  

Even if the project is completed ahead of the projected Sep. 25 finish line, American Airlines announced commercial travel will not resume any earlier.

The smaller runway, which was completed in the third phase of the airport’s ‘Runway 3/21 Project’ is currently open for private aircrafts. The main runway, meant for large, commercial planes, is the project’s fourth and final phase. It needs more electrical work before it’s fully completed.

“Ultimately the electrical comes at the very end,” Manhattan Airport director Brandon Keazer said. “I mean obviously, you have to have the pavement completely down and ready to go. They just hit a little bit of a snag. So they brought in additional crews, so they’re trying to sure up that date, that delay that we got.” 

The City of Manhattan has partnered with Clarkson Construction Company to revamp the runway. Keazer said even with the delay, this project will be well worth it, as the new runway is expected to last for decades.

“Folks at the airport authority are pushing really hard,” Taylor said. “They know that it impacts a lot of things, not just us clearly, the commercial flights, the American flights. They’re doing everything they can to get that open, So if for some reason it changes, we’ll adjust against like we have so far.” 

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