Prior to the development of approach and departure procedures and the assignment of an airspace classification, Branson Airport was required to prepare an Environmental Assessment. Due to their experience in developing the site selection study and master plan for the airport, Coffman Associates was retained for the preparation of this EA. Challenges which arose during the preparation of the document pertained primarily to concerns regarding overflights of National Park Units, a scenic river, and designated Wilderness Areas. Concerns were raised by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. To address concerns, anticipated flight patterns were developed and estimates of activity by general aviation and commercial service aircraft were formulated. These estimated flights were then incorporated into data obtained from the FAA’s Performance Data Analysis and Reporting System. After an extensive agency outreach effort, the FAA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for the project in March 2009. The airport received its inaugural flight in May 2009 and is currently the only privately funded commercial service airport in the U.S.

Branson photo