Airport sees flight growth

WILLIAMSTOWN – The Wood County Airport Authority Tuesday discussed the continued growth of passengers using the commercial service to Cleveland.

“This month was a record for April for the past six years,” said airport manager Terry Moore.

Last month, 689 people used the commercial service to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

“Out of the first four months of this year, three have had record numbers of enplanements for us,” Moore told the authority, operators of the Mid-Ohio Valley regional Airport, at its regular business meeting on Tuesday.

In March 665 passengers used the service, he said. For the first quarter of the year, 1,709 passengers used the service, the best quarter for enplanements since 2006.

“It looks like it’s going to be a great year,” said board member Wayne Dunn.

Moore said he hopes to see those numbers continue to grow as the summer begins, as the summer months are traditionally the most traveled.

“If we keep up these high enplanements, we will break 8,000 this year and that will be great,” Moore said.

Last year was the busiest year for the airport with 7,800 enplanements, up from roughly 7,500 passengers on 2011.

Airports that have at least 10,000 enplanements per year receive $1 million in federal Airport Improvement Project funds annually, airports with fewer passengers receive $150,000.

Moore said April was also a good month for fuel sales with 27,226 gallons of unleaded and jet fuel sold.

“Because of this, for the first time since I’ve been here, we are paid up on all of our small bills, with the exception of gas, which we always owe,” Moore said. “Things are looking pretty good statistically, unfortunately there are other things going on.”

Fuel sales are the one money maker for the airport and how they pay utility bills and payroll.

The “other things” Moore referred to include the possible upcoming closure of the air traffic control tower.

In other business:

* Local pilot Jim Bennon approached the board about the possibility of an airplane repair and maintenance business moving to the airport.

“I have been approaching a guy for the last few years about opening an A&P shop at the airport,” Bennon said. “About 40 percent of his current business is located at this airport.”

The man currently runs a shop at another regional airport in the tri-state area and would like to relocate to a hangar at the airport to service airplanes.

Moore said he would love to have an airplane mechanic at the facility and would like to work with the man.

“This is really self-serving since I love his work and want him closer to work on my plane,” Bennon said.

* Moore announced an upcoming purchase of new brushes and snow removal equipment, which needs to be done ever couple of years.

The cost of the equipment is expected to be about $5,000.

“So, any extra funds we have this year will go toward maintenance,” Moore said.