MANASSAS, Va. – After more than 12 years in the making, Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish and other officials opened a new longer runway at the city’s Regional Airport.
The runway at Virginia’s largest municipal airport has been extended to 6,200 feet – 500 feet longer than it was before – providing new safety improvements, reduced aircraft noise for those who live nearby, and with new improvements to ground instruments pilots flying in heavy fog can now land when approaching from the south.
“We can now extend our reach in Manassas, to the rest of the nation, and to the world,” said Parrish.
The airport was built in its current location off Va. 28 since 1964. It contributes $235 million to the local economy as well as helps to provide jobs for more than 1,000 people in Manassas and Prince William County, said Parrish.
The mayor began flying at this airport when he was young. It’s where he got his pilot’s license, and while reminiscing at a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, he told attendees the city’s first airport was established in 1937 at what is now Manaport Plaza across from Manassas Mall.
“That was well before Interstate 66 was here,” he said.
The $4.6 million runway expansion here was one of several projects to improve the airport in recent years.
“It’s fitting this being the day before Thanksgiving because many are thankful that this project is over,” said Manassas Regional Airport Director Juan E. Rivera.
With the longer runway comes new opportunities for flying in summer weather, city officials posted in a press release:
The 6,200 foot runway means that aircraft taking off and landing at the Manassas Regional Airport will allow aircraft owners to maximize the capability of their aircraft by providing the opportunity to take on more fuel for coast-to-coast flights. In addition, most aircraft can now maximize their takeoff capabilities. On the hottest summer days an aircraft can now take off with a tank full of fuel.
And because Manassas is just 30 miles from Washington, D.C., and that federal city has a large party planned to inaugurate President Barack Obama into a second term, the airport hopes to get planes to land here for the event.