Sen. Van Hollen presents SBY Airport with $500k check for runway extension
SALISBURY, Md. – Some major funding announced by U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen could help accelerate the Salisbury Regional Airport in to the future.
Extending the Runway
$500,000 will support the airport’s ongoing runway extension project. “More flights means more commerce. More commerce means more investment in the community,” said Sen. Van Hollen. “It just connects Salisbury even more closely with the rest of the country, and the rest of the world. It then connects the rest of the country, and the rest the world, more closely to Salisbury.”
Increased Safety Means Bigger Business
Airport officials thank the Senator for his help in securing the funding. Airport Manager Tony Rudy says extending the runway will help on multiple fronts. “It’ll increase safety for all the departures and arrivals here,” he said. “Runway extension can also increase the response support for any FEMA missions that might be engaged during a natural disaster.”
Plus, Rudy says an extended runway could also help keep paying customers from flying out of other facility. “Historically, we’ve leaked a lot of passengers to other airports. We’re hoping that this will help position us strategically to capture some of those passengers and retain air service,” he said. “[We] can enable longer-range flights, especially transcontinental flights, without the necessity to stop and refuel along the way.”
Supporting Jobs, Looking Ahead
CEO of Piedmont Airlines, Eric Morgan, says with improved airport facilities, comes an attractive draw for potential new employees. Morgan says this is especially crucial, as a worker shortage has put a strain on airline staff and pilots. “It’s causing us to really struggle right now. Tough decisions are having to be made as to where regional airlines fly, and how frequently they fly,” he said.
Looking ahead, Sen. Van Hollen says it’s time to get beyond the emergency of COVID-19, and move toward a brighter future. “We spent a lot of the last two years providing emergency support, including the airport here, which allowed Piedmont to keep its employees,” he said. “Now, we’re looking to the future. We want to expand business growth and opportunities. That means expanding the size of the airport and extending the runway.”