RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Virginia Aviation Board has awarded nearly $22 million in funding to support Virginia’s 66 public-use airports. A public-use airport is one that is available for use by the general public without a requirement for prior approval of the airport owner or operator, as defined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
“Aviation contributes $23 billion to the Virginia economy annually, and transports more than 8.3 million tourists to our Commonwealth each year,” said Governor Northam. “This funding will support critical infrastructure upgrades and enhance the operations of our airports, which will in turn improve travel for all Virginians and bring even more visitors on board to visit Virginia.”
The Virginia Aviation Board awarded $13.95 million to commercial services airports, a type of public-use airport that is publicly owned, accommodates at least 2,500 passenger boardings each calendar year, and receives scheduled passenger service. Funding totaling $3.23 million was awarded to air carrier-reliever airports, which are public-use airports designated by the FAA to relieve congestion at commercial services airports and provide improved general aviation access to the overall community. General aviation airports, or public-use airports that do not have scheduled service or have less than 2,500 annual passenger boardings, received $4.1 million in funding. The Board action took place today at its quarterly meeting in Roanoke.
“Virginia’s airports are national and international gateways to the world,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Investing in our airports opens the door for new visitors, increased commerce, and greater opportunity.”
While the Commonwealth does not own or operate any of the 66 public use airports, the funds awarded today help all Virginians—even those who might never fly. The funding will support business creation, jobs, income and tax revenues, and the delivery of goods and services to consumers who have access to the global marketplace through these airports. The aviation industry pays more than $7.7 billion in wages across the 66 public-use airports in Virginia.
“The Board provides some level of funding at each of its meetings, but the funding we award each year in August is always the largest that we disburse,” said Virginia Aviation Board Chairman Rod Hall. “It’s a great way to start off the Commonwealth’s fiscal year, and it helps prime the economic pump that is the aviation industry. Each of the 144,000 jobs at Virginia’s airports supports another 2.2 jobs—an additional 316,800 people—in the Commonwealth.”
Members of the Virginia Aviation Board are appointed by the Governor and represent defined geographic areas of the Commonwealth. The Board provides a means of citizen access to the Department of Aviation. The Board is responsible for publicizing and monitoring policies and programs of the Department, recommending regulations to promote and develop safe aviation practices, and allocating funds to localities for aviation development.
“Virginia’s airports are the front door to the communities they serve,” said Mark Flynn, director of the Virginia Department of Aviation. “They are the first and last impression business development professionals have when deciding to locate in a particular community.”
The mission of the Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV) is to offer convenient access to the national air transportation system; cultivate an advanced aviation system that is safe and secure, and supports economic development; promote aviation education and awareness; and provide the safest and most efficient flight services for the Commonwealth’s leadership and state agencies.
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