A major rehabilitation project for Johnstown airport hangars have received a $150,000 boost in the form a a state grant.
The John Murtha Johns-town-Cambria Airport’s grant was part of $8.8 million in state investments at 23 airports, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Monday.
“Maintaining and expanding opportunities in our transportation system includes the more than 400 airports in our state,” Wolf said.
“Hundreds of thousands of jobs are supported by aviation in Pennsylvania, and these investments will help them operate safely, expand to meet demands, or attract more growth.”
Four general aviation hangars are being refurbished in the $400,000 project, airport manager RaNell Fenchak said.
Work includes roof replacements and roof repairs, painting and hangar door replacements, she said.
By working on one of the multi-unit hangars at a time, existing tenants are able to keep their aircraft inside by shifting to one of three vacant units, she said.
“We have moved things around with assistance from the fixed base operator (Nulton Aviation),” Fenchak said.
Some of the roofs have been leaking and there were problems with the doors, so the tenants are pleased that the work is being done, she said.
“Everybody has been very cooperative to get people moving planes around,” Fenchak said.
Although many associate the airport with commuter air service and military uses, the private pilots and business aviation represent a key area for the operation, said David Kalina, president of the Johnstown-Cambria County Airport Authority.
“We are a source of serving the pilots of the community, and they are a source of revenue for the airport,” Kalina said.
Hangar rent brought in more than $130,000 through the first six months of the year, or about 25 percent of the operating budget.
“It is a great source of revenue for the airport,” Kalina said.
The hangars also help establish the Johnstown airport as a general aviation hub, leading to additional fuel sales and landing fees, Kalina said.
State Sen. John Wozniak, D-Westmont, said investing in transportation helps connect area businesses to national and international markets.
“A first-rate airport enhances business potential and creates better access to the region,” Wozniak said. “The John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport is an incredible resource for the region.”
Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.