City’s airport looks to soon be all clear for major take off

Judging by the good news rolling out onto Morgantown Municipal Airport’s runway lately things are looking up.
Yet, for a while it looked as if the only things circling overhead were dark developments rather than a city ready to fly higher.
As three new hangars remained a work in progress, the city faced losing its eligibility in a vital federal program and its former airport director suddenly retired, not to mention its runway extension project lingered in a perpetual holding pattern.
But following the city’s move to hire a local contractor in May 2018 to complete work on those three hangars, the skies began to clear and have continued to.
Those $4 million in hangars, that can house up to 45 aircraft, were completed in less than a year and even before opening in April had 30 spots rented out.
Then, just last week, the city announced it had hired a new airport director, who has extensive experience in airport operations and economic development.
That was followed this week by the federal Department of Transportation notifying the city it was granted a waiver to continue receiving Essential Air Service funds,
It’s true, the runway extension project is still on hold, but that is by and large contingent on the Federal Aviation Administration giving the city an A-OK.
Eventually, that $44 million project will get underway, and will include the relocation of 4 million cubic yards of dirt, likely taking six years to complete.
We should note the city also recently contracted for more than $1 million in other upgrades for a series of projects required ahead of the runway extension plan.
We applaud the city manager and City Council on their efforts to modernize and develop the airport into a true transportation and economic hub for the Morgantown area.
It also appears the commercial air service at the airport is continuing to upgrade its service resulting in a marked increase in enplanements in recent months.
There is no denying the close connection between airports and regional development, according to not only studies but just as a matter of important infrastructure.
Still, if you’re used to flying into and out of bigger cities, the Morgantown Municipal Airport might be just a bit underwhelming.
But what it lacks in long lines and long waits on baggage, which any traveler can live without, it only increases its value by its proximity to downtown, interstates and WVU.
Not to mention 38 nonstop round-trip flights weekly by its commercial carrier to Pittsburgh and the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., area.
You might say it looks like our airport is finally clear for take off.

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