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Airport Begins Major Expansion

The Lincolnton/Lincoln County Airport is set to make millions of dollars of changes and improvements over the coming years. “We’re going to have a good bit going on,” said Jeff Lynn, airport manager. Improvements will cost the airport around $3.6 million and should all be completed in six to eight years. The airport is a designated Charlotte reliever and has the facilities to accommodate corporate jets, Lynn said. It currently houses about $7.3 million worth of aircraft and brought in revenue of more than $400,000 last year – and that amount is expected to grow. That’s impressive, Lynn said, considering the current economy. “Some of the airports are really suffering, and we’re pleased we’re able to maintain that level, and it looks like we’re going to do even better,” Lynn said. Crews are preparing to repave the airport’s runway, taxi ways and parking ramp, Lynn said. That should begin in early August, weather permitting. The airport will shut down for about six days during the work, Lynn said. The safety area on runway 23 – which now extends 100 feet beyond the end of the runway – will be extended another 200 feet. Trees will be removed from the safety area as a requirement by the Federal Aviation Administration. One of the most substantial changes is the addition of 28 individual T-hangars. T-hangars are shaped like a “T” and are used to house one aircraft. The hangars are 26 feet by 37 feet and are used by people whose planes are based at the airport. Lynn said he currently has more than 70 names on a waiting list for T-hangars. “We’re pretty excited about it,” Lynn said. “People have been waiting a long time.” There are 10 T-hangars at the airport now, along with two common hangzrs and three private hangars. The airport also has spots to build five more private hangars, which measure 60 feet by 80 feet. These hangars are built by individuals who lease the land. After 20 years, the land reverts back to the airport, Lynn said. The airport just got approval for funding for taxi lanes to the hangars, and construction will begin in late fall or early spring, Lynn said. The project will cost nearly $1 million, money the airport will likely borrow. Other improvement include: The relocation of Airport Drive to allow for a 1,000 square-foot expansion of the terminal and additional hangars. Extending the taxi way on runway 5 by the year 2006. Installing a glide slope, which assists pilots on their landing approach during inclement weather. Running water and sewer services to the airport. Officials hope this will attract NASCAR teams to the airport. Officials are pleased with the airport’s future and are eager to provide the best services possible to the community, Lynn said. “The airport’s already doing what it was envisioned to do, but it looks like it is capable of even more,” Lynn said.