新航站楼, hangar to help Columbus airport catch up with competitors

By: Thomas Sherrill, News Reporter

The roughly half-century-old terminal building at Columbus County Municipal Airport could be making way for a modern, bigger building constructed using federal funds.

新机库 is also in the works after the Columbus County Board of Commissioners approved airport improvements using $3.10美元中的200万.7 million earmarked for county government by the American Rescue Plan.

County Manager Eddie Madden said a strategic planning team made up of staff members from different county departments developed a list of unmet capital projects that didn’t have a dedicated funding stream. 

“机场项目, 特别是, have been on the county’s capital improvement list for some time,马登说. “此外, the terminal building project and the corporate hangar project seem to meet the requirements for the ARP program and would be a good use of the funds. Otherwise, the two airport projects would be many years down the road from being constructed.”

Phil Edwards is director of Columbus County Municipal Airport.

Phil Edwards is director of Columbus County Municipal Airport.

机场主管菲尔·爱德华兹, the projects are a long time coming, although he remains cautious about the funds arriving.  

“We have been planning this for several years, and hopefully we can get the money to do it,爱德华兹说. “你永远不知道会发生什么.”

Madden said he’s been notified that the county should receive the first half of the $10.7 million  “before the end of May” and that “the remaining amount will be received within one year.”

追赶

The county has designated that $2 million of the designated airport funds would be for a new terminal building. Edwards says the current terminal, which he believes was originally built in the late ’60s or early ’70s, doesn’t meet modern state standards for an airport such as Columbus.

“We’ve had leaking problems and water problems inside with the plumbing,爱德华兹说. “它需要更大.”

新机库, 爱德华兹说, 会是公司的机库吗, which he believes can help attract new businesses.

“And if you’re not keeping a big corporate plane, you can keep several smaller planes in there, 所以这对双方都有好处,爱德华兹说. 

As a gateway to Columbus County, Edwards believes in the airport’s use as an economic driver.

N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation annual study released in January credits Columbus County Municipal with $167.09 million in annual economic output, $31.42 million in personal income and $20.511 million in state and local taxes, accounting for 515 jobs. Those figures were some of the highest economic outputs for a general aviation airport in the state.

Edwards believes the upgrades will help Columbus keep up with neighboring counties, pointing to recent airport projects in Lumberton, 《合乐888在线登录注册》, Duplin County and Brunswick County.

“If you look around, we’re playing catch-up at our airport,爱德华兹说.

The county airport has seen some improvements in recent years, 爱德华兹说, 哪一种方法能提振它呢, noting recent land purchases to clear one end of the runway and plans to do so at the other, making it safer for planes to land and take off.

应急准备

Madden brought airport experience when he left his role at 《合乐888在线登录注册》 town manager earlier this year to become Columbus County manager. In his former position, Madden helped establish a new terminal at Curtis L. 棕色的小. Field, the airport in 《合乐888在线登录注册》. 

“I do respect Eddie’s input and his recommendations at the airport,爱德华兹说. He did a great job at 《合乐888在线登录注册》, and I’ve known him for several years. He is interested in this economic development.” 

Both Madden and 爱德华兹说 that the upgrades will not only benefit economic development but will also better prepare the county for emergencies. 

“During a hurricane or natural disaster, 这个机场经常被使用,爱德华兹说, explaining that during Hurricane Florence in 2018, the airport was the only way supplies could be delivered due to roads being flooded.

这些数字

Another revenue stream helped by the improvements is fuel sales, 爱德华兹说.

According to budget data, the county expects an end-of-fiscal-year boost in airport revenues. 

The county had reported $167,485 in fuel sales as of Feb. 11, when 2020-21 budget data were put together. For the remainder of the fiscal year, from Feb. 12日至6月30日, the county projects estimated fuel sales will be $279,277, 总共是446美元,762. 

In 2019-20, the Columbus County Airport reported $405,610 in fuel sales.

The county expects tie-down rentals (when pilots rent spaces to store planes) to be down slightly from $42,从2019-20年的424美元降至38美元,500 in 2020-21.

在预算的另一边, 该县预计为644美元,979 in 2020-21 airport expenditures, 高于620美元,804 in 2019-20. 其中大部分是燃料成本.




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