The Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport Authority has been awarded $311,288 in federal funding to update the airport’s master plan, U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin announced Wednesday.
The funding was awarded through the Federal Aviation Administration’s airport improvement program, and the master-plan update will show current and future needs of the airport south of Martinsburg, according to Matthew DiGiulian of the FAA’s Beckley, W.Va., airports office.
The plan update for the 1,005-acre airport will be the first in at least 20 years, according airport authority board Chairman Rick Wachtel.
A contract with Charlotte, N.C.-based Delta Airport Consultants Inc. to update the plan is expected to be approved this fall, Wachtel said.
“They will look at the whole airfield,” Wachtel said of the consultant’s comprehensive study.
The federal funding requires a 10 percent match in local funds, and Wachtel said that cost is expected to be shared by the airport authority and the West Virginia Aeronautics Commission.
The project is among four airports receiving master-plan updates in West Virginia, DiGiulian said.
Master plans are required to be kept up to date, and the update itself will identify potential maintenance needs, according to DiGiulian.
Work also will be done to survey and map areas around the airport to assess any possible safety concerns, according to DiGiulian. The update to Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport’s plan also document how stormwater is managed given Chesapeake Bay protection efforts and the county’s designation as a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) community, according to DiGiulian.
Overall, the master plan provides “a good path forward” for identifying potential future use and development, according to DiGiulian.
Wachtel said the plan update comes at a time when there appears to be more demand at the airport for hangars to accommodate private aircraft. He also noted that the airport authority has fielded interest from a company that has proposed using the airport to ship freight into the U.S. from Mexico.
“It’s very good timing,” Wachtel said of the plan update.
Manchin, a Democrat., said in Wednesday’s news release that “investing in our infrastructure is one of the best ways to create good jobs and build a strong foundation for future economic growth.”
“In rural states like West Virginia, airports are critical for residents, visitors and businesses to access remote areas,” added Capito, a Republican, in a joint announcement.