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Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport finishing $2 million upgrade

12/22/2011

Airport Executive Director Greg Campbell said the upgrade also offers more space for TSA inspectors, modern ADA-compliant restrooms and new mechanical and utility systems for the facility.

Campbell said the previous mechanical and utilities systems dated back to the 1960s.

“The big thing was the upgrade to the mechanical and utilities systems,” Campbell said. “Those were antiquated and the building was not energy efficient.”

The airport director said 85 percent of the cost of the project was paid for by funds from the Virginia Department of Aviation.

Campbell said the project has been an ambitious one over the past year.

“The challenging part was keeping the terminal open and functioning while doing the renovations,” he said.

Passenger traffic at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport was up 28 percent for the first nine months of 2011, as compared to the previous year.

And the traffic has tripled over a three-year period, Campbell said.

He attributes much of the improvement to working with the airport’s carrier the past few years, United Airlines.

The carrier offers a larger SAAB 340 aircraft with 34 seats, improved passenger fares and better connections at Northern Virginia’s Dulles International Airport.

Campbell said there are airport travelers from Rockbridge County and Lexington.

He said the bulk of Shenandoah Valley’s traffic continues from Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County.

The economic impact of the airport was detailed in a 2010 study of Virginia commercial airports released by the Virginia Department of Aviation.

That study said Shenandoah Valley’s impact included 252 jobs, a payroll of nearly $7 million and economic activity of more than $26 million.

Campbell said he hopes “the growth will continue” at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport.

Gerald Garber, an Augusta County supervisor and airport commission member for more than 20 years, said the airport’s success is “some good decisions and some good luck” and ongoing support of the localities involved.

“This is probably the best news story over 50 years of the jurisdictions working together,” Garber said.

Garber said the different components of the airport impact are in evidence when someone visits, including the presence of a training facility for Blue Ridge Community College’s aviation maintenance technology school and the presence of a rescue helicopter.

Linda Hershey, CEO and president of the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the airport’s strong connections through United help attract new businesses to the area.

She credits Campbell with the airport’s continued success.

“Greg is a huge asset,” she said.

She said Campbell has worked well with local boards and in attracting grants to the airport.

“That has made the airport. It is Greg. He is the reason the airport is where it is today,” Hershey said.