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Virginia Aviation Board awards $7.1M to local airports

parking at the airport
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The Virginia Aviation Board voted this week to allocate more than $7.1 million to support 20 projects at 11 airports in the Commonwealth.

In addition to the funds that were allocated, the Board also approved the Commercial Air Service Plan, which details the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nine commercial passenger airports in Virginia and makes recommendations on ways the Commonwealth can help these vital economic and quality-of-life assets recover.

VAB Chairman Rod Hall said, “The pandemic has dealt a significant blow to our entire aviation system here within the Commonwealth.  Airlines, airports, concessionaires, suppliers, and the thousands of jobs supported by aviation have all been adversely impacted.  The Commonwealth’s airports play a vital role in state and regional economies and all of them are experiencing unprecedented declines in traffic and revenue.  Until we are able to get to the other side of this public health crisis, the VAB is committed to doing all we can to ensure our airports have the tools and flexibility to survive this challenge.  In response, the Board supported four strategies that the members believe are crucial to the survival of the aviation industry in Virginia.”

One strategy is to allow the airports to use their annual “entitlement funds,” which are to be used only on capital projects, for operating expenses on a temporary basis.  A second strategy is designed to reassure passengers that these airports are being cleaned and sanitized to strict standards established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so that they know it is safe to fly again.  Strategies three and four will be proposed by the VAB to the Governor as budget amendments during the 2021 session of the General Assembly as they are based on a need for additional funding to support operations at the airports, which do not receive General Fund tax dollars.

The projects, listed by region, that were funded by the VAB are:

Southwest Virginia ($855,309.04)

  • Virginia Highlands Airport will receive $490,196 for taxilane and roadway pavement rehabilitation and $342,831.04 for land acquisition associated with a runway extension.
  • Tazewell County Airport will receive $16,000 for the construction of a maintenance equipment building.
  • Mountain Empire Airport will receive $6,282 for security camera replacement.

Northern Virginia ($1,275,159)

  • Winchester Regional Airport will receive $888,000 for construction associated with terminal area site preparation.
  • Stafford Regional Airport will receive $261,000 to support construction of a T-hangar and $10,880 to update its stormwater pollution prevention plan.
  • Leesburg Executive Airport will receive $81,900 for construction of a maintenance equipment building and $33,379 for resurfacing the terminal entrance road.

Central Virginia ($4,222,083)

  • Hanover County Municipal Airport will receive $1,977,101 for construction of a terminal building, $161,400 for terminal building site preparations and $31,200 for land acquisition services.
  • Richmond International Airport will receive $1,565,519.20 to widen service roads and $475,732.80 for obstruction removal.
  • New Kent County Airport will receive $11,390 to replace the terminal fuel dispenser.

Hampton Roads ($754,660)

  • Chesapeake Regional Airport will receive $584,000 to rehabilitate T-hangar taxilanes, $96,800 for phase 2 design work on taxilanes and $46,680 for environmental work associated with a maintenance equipment storage building.
  • Hampton Roads Executive Airport will receive $17,180 for work associated with hangar site preparation and $10,000 for wetland mitigation credits associated with its aircraft wash rack.