$5 Million Allocated for Georgetown Airport - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

$5 Million Allocated for Georgetown Airport

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GEORGETOWN, Del. - Park Avenue has figuratively and literally been a roadblock for any runway extension projects at the newly-branded Delaware Coastal Airport. But as the dust settles from the budget debates in Dover, a new plan for expansion is starting to take shape.

The General Assembly approved the allocation of $5 million over five years for the re-alignment of Park Avenue. This project, would allow for the airport to extend the runway from 5,500 feet to 6,000 feet. 

“This would be a big deal for us,” said Airport Manager Jim Hicken. 

Hicken said that the expansion would allow for bigger, heavier planes to land in Sussex County. Currently, the runway can comfortably handle 737 aircrafts. The extension would make it easier for 757’s to land as well. 

“6,000 feet of runway would give us a lot more options as far as aircrafts,” he said. “And where they can go. How much fuel they can carry. How many passengers they can carry.” 

Republican Sen. Brian Pettyjohn of Georgetown was one of the main advocates for the project. He said this was all about economic development. One of the main companies that would benefit from the extension is PATS Aircraft, which services planes.

“It brings jobs here in Sussex County,” he said. “And we’re not talking about low-wage jobs either. We’re talking about high-paying, blue-collar jobs.” 

County Administrator Todd Lawson said it is unlikely that this airport would ever see commercial passenger-filled planes. However, he said that it could mean more private and corporate jets coming through. 

“We’re aiming to increase our operations,” he said. “We’re aiming to have airplanes located here and based here. We’re aiming to help PATS, which employs several hundred people right here in Georgetown.” 

In June, County Council formally endorsed a plan to rename the Sussex County Airport to Delaware Coastal Airport. This is part of a nearly $40 million effort to "modern the facility and boost economic development.” 

Lawson said the first year of funding, would go towards an environmental assessment, as well as the design phase for both the re-alignment and the runway extension.

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