SBY Airport officials discuss passenger numbers, improvement projects

SALISBURY, Md. – Monday, Salisbury Airport officials met virtually to discuss updates on their various projects, and passenger numbers.

Passengers and Staffing

Airport manager Tony Rudy says passenger numbers have dipped over the past year. “For May, our numbers were down a little bit to 3,811 compared to 4,475 in May of 2021. That’s about a 17% decrease. But, we do only have three flights a day now,” he said.

Rudy added that staffing on Piedmont Airlines, which services the airport, is looking up. “We are talking with them. Things are looking better for them as far as pilots go. But, right now we do have a reduced flight schedule,” he said.

In June, Piedmont Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) reached an agreement on a contract. The deal was ratified by ALPA’s master executive committee. Piedmont Airlines employees about 700 pilots.

Runway Extension

Meanwhile, Rudy said the airport’s runway extension project is making progress. “We have design work roughly at the 60% stage right now. Delta is finalizing some stuff. We should be seeing something on that from them very shortly. The environmental permitting that’s necessary to the project is proceeding along,” he said.

Now, the airport is working on satisfying state requirements through Permittee Responsible Mitigation, as well as working with the county. “We’ve also had some discussions with the county recently on our forest conservation plan. We have some leads there, as well. We’re going to find land that we can use for that purpose,” said Rudy.

While the project is expected to be complete some time next year, funding is still a main focus for airport officials. “We’ll probably have a better handle on that later on this year. We talked with the FAA last week about getting $10 million. But, frankly it comes $5 million per year. They said it’s unlikely to get that $10 million all up front,” said Rudy. “If we can’t line that money up to fit this project all at once we might have to phase it.”

The airport is also trying to obtain more federal funds for their projects, through the CARES Act. “We’re continuing to submit reimbursements and get reimbursed for many of our expenses here. We have not heard back from the FAA on our second grant addendum. That was a CARES grant addendum for sign work related to our aircraft rescue and firefighting facility, the Piedmont parking lot rehabilitation, and the fuel fund,” said Rudy.

Facilities

While the airport was originally planning to construct separate aircraft rescue firefighting and snow removal facilities, Rudy says those plans have changed. Now, airport officials are planning to combine them into one.

“It saves some costs, especially with the way construction costs are elevated right now. We had an initial design that Fisher [Architecture] did for us. We took a good look at that, met with them and Delta, and talked through a lot of changes we wanted, and how to size it appropriately so that it fits within our budget,” said Rudy.

Rudy says airport officials now have a revised drawing of the site plan. He adds that a few more questions and changes will be addressed in the near future. Airport officials will then continue planning with the FAA.

 

Categories: Local News, Maryland