Mobile Airport Authority (MAA), which is the Mobile Regional Airport (MOB) operator in Alabama, US, has secured the green light to shift commercial air passenger services to the Mobile Downtown Airport (BFM).

The move was approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The FAA decision also clears the path for developing a new international terminal at BFM, located next to the Port of Mobile.

This comes after an FAA-funded feasibility study, completed in 2018, which found that MAA is losing around 55% of the Mobile market to neighbouring airports.

The study also concluded that the passenger traffic can be recaptured by moving its location to the downtown area.

Subsequently, the MAA, the FAA and other experts devised a master plan to outline the next 20 years of development for the Mobile Downtown Airport. The plan is expected to cost around $403m.

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Mobile Airport Authority president Chris Curry said: “The input from community leaders, business owners and local residents was invaluable to our team.

“Their recommendations helped our team develop the best possible plan to provide premium air service from the Mobile Downtown Airport.”

The future terminal at BFM will include an area of around 130,000ft².

Currently, MAA is working to clear the space for the new terminal, which is expected to open in early 2024.

US Senator Richard Shelby said: “The FAA’s approval of the master plan for the Mobile Downtown Airport is great news and a big step in the process of enhancing commercial air travel in the region.

“I am pleased to see this progress and look forward to working with the Mobile Airport Authority and the FAA on this initiative, which will undoubtedly add to the current economic growth and success of Alabama’s Gulf Coast.”

MAA owns and operates the Mobile Regional Airport, Mobile Downtown Airport (BFM) and the Brookley Aeroplex.

Currently, the Mobile Regional Airport is served by Delta Airlines, American Airlines (AA) and United Airlines (UA).