The Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport has been awarded approximately $1 million in more federal funding as part of a plan tied to the ongoing runway expansion.
The funding, awarded through a program under the Federal Aviation Administration, was announced this past week by the offices of U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.
The funding is the first of four reimbursements to Virginia Tech, which previously owned the land being used for the runway expansion, said Michael St. Jean, the airport’s executive director.
The airport’s authority acquired the land about six years ago via a grant anticipation note, or basically an IOU, St. Jean said. The land cost $9.4 million, which will be paid off over the next few years, he said.
The airport authority is a standalone government entity that includes representation from Tech, Montgomery County, Blacksburg and Christiansburg.
The airport handles mostly business traffic, and one of the $20 million runway expansion’s greater plans is to accommodate more of those fliers, St. Jean said.
Companies sending more of their executives to Blacksburg can translate to job growth in the area, St. Jean said.
“It will allow larger jets to land here,” he said. “These types of aircraft are owned by corporate headquarters.”
The expansion will increase the length of the runway from 4,500 to 5,500 feet. That will allow the airport to increase its annual number of operations from about 18,000 to 26,000 a year, St. Jean previously said.
The expansion is expected to be completed within the next year to year and a half, St. Jean said.