Alabama Northeast Regional Airport Decommissioning Crosswind Runway


The Northeast Alabama Regional Airport (KGAD), also known as Gadsden Airport, is the latest airfield to vote on decommissioning its crosswind runway.

On Tuesday, the City Council approved the Gadsden Airport Authority’s earlier decision to decommission Runway 18-36. Given the city’s partnership with the authority in managing the facility, its approval was necessary.

The airport’s main runway, 6-24, sits at 6,802 feet long by 150 feet wide, whereas the crosswind runway, 18-36, is roughly 5,000 feet long and 100 feet wide.

Local media The Tuscaloosa News reported that a study was done last year on the utility of the crosswind runway, which concluded that landing on the main runway was feasible 99% of the time. According to the source, the decision to decommission the crosswind runway was supported by both pilots and the city council since the crosswind runway would no longer be receiving grant funding. Additionally, by decommissioning the runway, the airport could come up with a new master plan layout, which officials believe is key for economic growth.

Recently, the City Council approved an agreement for the construction of 28 new T-hangars and potentially box hangars on the field. Moreover, the city was in talks of expanding the main runway to 11,000 feet to bring in more business and opportunities for Gadsden and its community.

Amelia Walsh
Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.


  1. Cross runways are a holdover from taildragger days–necessary back then, but hard to justify with all of the proposed spending on airport improvements today.

    Why not just leave it alone for the time being, and when the pavement is no longer suitable, revert it to grass? Grass is cheaper to maintain than pavement–especially in the South, where you don’t have to worry about plowing snow. Most taildraggers PREFER grass–as it is more forgiving in crosswinds. Pretty hard to make a case for cross runways today–when there are so many other airport projects vying for the money.

  2. This is a disease starting to sweep the country. The FAA has greatly deprioritized cross-wind runway support and we are starting to live with the fallout. The Watsonville, Ca city council recently voted to close the cross-wind runway at KWVI to allow more housing to encroach onto the airport. We all know where that will lead.

  3. Judging from the aerial view, it appears the airport could definitely use additional hangar space. But Nordic Dave is right that crosswind runways are starting to disappear across the country. Lack of use and maintenance expenses are certainly reasons (excuses?) but one has to wonder how often the real reason is the potential land value for tax revenue. The camel’s nose under the tent?

    • No need to wonder, it’s right there in the article. Deep pocket, jet A-buying private jets want runway length and large, modern hangars. Some of the space will be trimmed off for non-aviation revenue. This is happening all over the country.

  4. GA is slowly but surely being shown the door. The recent poll regarding public perception of our ‘hobby’ is not proof, but anecdotal evidence that we and our flying are viewed as an activity for the rich. Death by a thousand cuts… a runway decommissioned here, an airport trimmed there. There is no end in sight.

  5. We turned an abandoned asphalt runway into a perfect grass strip two years ago and it’s used consistently. We had free clean land fill dirt get dropped off to cover the cracked asphalt then levelled it , lots of fertilizer, grass seed, and Bob’s your uncle its fabulous. Our C.O.P.A. group maintains it for free. Sweat equity sometimes pays off.

  6. To those naysayers, please read the linked article. The runway currently needs over $5 million in maintenance, and pilots attending the public hearings supported the closing. Doing so does open up more land, but the current city admin is looking to expand the aviation facilities. In the words of the mayor’s chief of staff:

    ““My intention is to grow our airport,” he said, “and make it one of the biggest in Northeast Alabama.”

    Kudos to them.

  7. GA is under many asymmetric threats.

    Fuel, Insurance, Environmentalists, Government, Parts, Airports and even runways.

    Death by 1,000 cuts indeed.

  8. Detroit City mayor shut down the crosswind runway at KDET by a call to the airport manager, no City Consel involved. The mayor’s plan is to carve out 80 acres of airport land to “bring in industry and jobs”. Those not familiar with Detroit there is plenty of real estae available elsewhere not sure why he picked this property. The only flight school on the field had to cancel at lease 50% of their training flights between November and April due to winds not favouring the main runway.