VALENTINE, Neb. -- Valentine’s airport is working on a plan to build a longer runway and add additional airplane parking spaces. Airport authorities say it’s needed because of the big increase in plane traffic over the past decade. Here's a look at the numbers and other additional projects underway.

Jeff Harders works as a charter pilot.  Around twice a month he flies into Miller Field in Valentine.

“We’re up here quite a bit with the golf courses and bringing doctors into the hospital,” Harders said.

Flights at the airport have taken off over the past decade, increasing 176% from 2012 to 2021.

“We have two world-class golf courses just south of town not too far and a third that’s a little farther south by Mullen. We have doctors who fly in to do specialties, along with basic tourism and hunters,” Valentine Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jenny Moore said.

To improve the look of the airport for those visitors, several businesses and organizations, including the Rotary Club, have teamed up to improve the landscaping.

“There were evergreen bushes planted around the building. It became pretty overgrown and quite ugly,” Rotary Club member Todd Madison said. "It's important because it's the first impression of Valentine."

“We want to be able to say, ‘Hey. Look. This is Valentine. Come and see the rest of the town. See what we have to offer,'” Moore said.

In addition to this beautification project, the airport also recently replaced a runway and added a taxiway.

“Once they did the runway renovations and allowed the larger jets to land here in Valentine, the numbers have skyrocketed,” Moore said.

Skyrocketing numbers that Valentine hopes will land them an even longer runway to bring in bigger planes and pilots like Harders.

“Some places are pretty meager. It’s nice to hang out, and enjoy the scenery. We like coming to Valentine,” Harders said.

A town hoping to fly higher thanks to recent airport improvements.