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Monroe airport really taking off
Fred Moskol of Madison prepares for take off at the Monroe airport on Friday. Moskol comes to the airport about twice a month and does some instructional flying. "It's an attractive place to fly," Moskol said. "The gas prices are good, too." To order either of these photos, click here. (Times photos: Marissa Weiher)
MONROE - The Monroe Municipal Airport has promising financial totals to round out 2016, thanks to increased jet fuel sales and added amenities previously unavailable to flyers.

Tom Miller, chairman of the Airport Board of Management, said the facility's new terminal, completed in 2014, and cab service from the airport to neighboring municipalities has increased airport use. Increased fuel sales have also bolstered the airport in recent years.

"We have sold a bunch more jet fuel this year than we have last year all together," Miller said. "A lot of it is that the new terminal is attracting new people. And we've been trying to keep plane fuel competitive; it's lower than in other places."

Miller referred to the boost as a "steady incline" with what he estimated has been two to three times more use at the airport than last year.

In 2013, the airport sold just under $38,000 in fuel, in a combination of L100 airplane fuel and jet fuel. Within the first six months of 2016, the airport has sold $28,000 in fuel - compared to about $16,000 in the first half of 2015. Last year fuel sales totaled $45,895, which was a $5,000 increase from 2014. Miller was confident sales this year will once again exceed previous years.

Phil Rath, Monroe's airport manager and city administrator, said the hangar addition in 2014 has contributed as well.

"Things are going well," Rath said. "We've had good comments. Business is starting to pick back up. The new terminal enhances interest."

He added that when business increases, the need for support from the city, and taxpayers, decreases.

Cab service added by the city has helped improve the number of clients using the airport. Miller said patrons have noticed the change, and the addition of a rental car service has helped make the airport more attractive for business people traveling to the area. He cited Colony Brands and Jack Links in New Glarus as examples.

Ubersox Used Car Super Store began renting vehicles at the airport in March, when the business opened a new franchise in Monroe. They also rent vehicles in their Platteville and Barneveld locations.

General Manager Danette Williams said the rental business has been steady. The company makes arrangements with customers before a vehicle is rented. It will then provide any type of vehicle requested, from SUVs to cars to vans.

"The Ubersox rental car has brought a lot more people in as well," Miller agreed. "Now people are coming in and eating or spending the night. They're sightseeing or they can do their business and then return the car and fly out. It's had a big impact on what they can do within Monroe."