Local airport receives state funds for improvements

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NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – The state North Carolina has announced more than 35 million dollars for airport infrastructure needs.

Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern will receive three million of those funds and they’re going to good use.

The airport moves over a quarter of a million people through its terminals every year.

Airport director Andy Shorter said they’re in need of some change.

“This runway probably, well it has been over twenty years since it has been repaved,” said Shorter. “Of course the heat and the temperature fluctuations, yes North Carolina is a temperate area but it does get cold in the winter and hot in the summer.”

Shorter said the 3 million dollars allotted by the state will go to runway paving.

“We’re approaching that point rapidly to either have to do some heavy maintenance on it but by this point the cost carve of that would be more beneficial to go ahead and repave it,” Shorter said.

He said it’s a smart investment by the state because for every one cent invested in an airport, a return of 22 cents is given for the state.

Shorter said they already have plans for the three million dollars given to them by the state and now they’re focusing their attention on a new master plan for the airport.

Shorter said, “What that does is it opens up the next twenty years and helps the airport look ahead so it can plans its needs and projects for its big capital projects.”

One of those projects would call for expanding the airline parking area for bigger planes.

This in turn, could attract more flights or more airlines.

Shorter said, “It’s incumbent on us to make sure that we give them information of how stable the community is how much it’s growing what they can expect in the future so they can plan that out as well.”

For those who use the airport regularly, the airport’s success is important.

Wes Alderman lives in Newport and flying local makes a difference for him

“Well I’d go to Jacksonville or Greenville,” Alderman said. “Greenville’s an hour and 45 minutes and Jacksonville’s a little over an hour, so New Bern is most convenient for me.”

Shorter said the airport is a major contributor to the local economy.

It made a 179 million dollar economic impact just last year.

Shorter said by the end of this year phase one of the master plan should be complete.

He said he hopes to have a final plan to the FAA by the end of next year.

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