FREDERICK, Md. — The city of Frederick is making gradual progress in expanding the airport’s runway, and was recently awarded a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin demolition.
“The first step in that process was demolition of buildings that were located along Bailes Lane, and the relocation of some of the utilities that are in the ground and leveling of that area,” said Alderman Michael O’Connor, who also serves on the city’s Airport Commission.
The demolition is estimated to cost in excess of $8 million.
The expansion has been in the talks for years, but funding has been a major roadblock.
“This is a multi-phased, multi-year effort that we’re really just trying to pace at a level that the FAA has shown a willingness to do reimbursements,” said Alderman O’Connor.
The city started off by forward-funding the project in the land acquisition phase, but had to shift strategies after timing of reimbursements became unpredictable.
“With the recent federal budget issues, the lag time on getting some of those reimbursements have slowed down and there’s also been some question with at least one project at the airport on whether reimbursement would come at all,” said Alderman O’Connor.
The city continues to move forward, fully understanding that the end product will give Frederick a competitive edge
“The city has recognized for sometime that we’re losing some business at the airport because of the length of our runway. A full-size runway will allow some different kinds of planes but as importantly, the planes that can already use that airport to take-off with more fuel,” said Alderman O’Connor.
“Frederick Municipal Airport is the second busiest airport in the state of Maryland. It’s our hope that we continue to attract business travelers to the Frederick airport and position ourselves to be the preferred executive airport in the Washington area,” said Richard Griffin, director of the City of Frederick Department of Economic Development.
There is no timeline as to when the project will be complete since it’s heavily reliant on money from the FAA, but city officials hope to have a better idea in the next fiscal year.
And while the longer runway will enable larger planes to land, the city says commercial aviation is not in the long-range plans at this time.