Airports and aviation-related industries contribute more than $52 billion to North Carolina’s economy each year. The Wayne Executive Jetport, a general aviation airport located in Pikeville, NC, contributes over $12 million annually to the local Wayne County economy. A portion of that impact is due to MIL2ATP, a flight training facility located at the airport that offers training levels from the private pilot to airline transport pilot (ATP). MIL2ATP is the only FAA-certified satellite operation for Delta Airlines and trains approximately 12 ATP students a month. The program has historically contributed over a half a million dollars to the Wayne County economy.
However, lately their operation has been limited due to the lack of hangar availability at the airport. MIL2ATP forecasts that they would be able to double the number of students they could accommodate and that the economic forecast for Wayne County would more than double the current contribution if new hangar space were available. Additionally, Wayne County has had several other potential tenants interested in renting hangar space if more space was available.
It was clear more hangar space was needed. But one of the hurdles, like many general aviation airports, would be how to pay for the project.
As a consultant for the Wayne Executive Jetport, WK Dickson’s responsibilities are to work closely with the airport to identify and prioritize needs, develop costs and recommendations, and formulate a plan to put any approved recommendations into action. Part of that responsibility involves assisting the client with funding.
It just so happened that during this time, the NCDOT had recently created a new fund designed to exclusively support economic development projects at airports across the state. To start the ball rolling, WK Dickson staff gathered with Wayne County staff and the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Aviation staff to discuss funding options and present a case for the corporate area hangar project. The presentation detailed infrastructure costs and timeline, business incentives, expansion and recruitment, and tax revenue. Subsequent efforts involved gathering additional information and applying for the grant money. In August 2018, the client was notified of an initial grant award, followed by a supplemental award in January 2019.In total, the Wayne Executive Jetport was awarded $3,615,189 in economic development funds to prepare the hangar site, as well as build an apron and connecting taxiway for an expansion of the corporate area at the airport.
Additionally, funding was also received from the FAA in the amount of $587,306 and the GoldenLEAF Foundation in the amount of $200,000. All total, 84% of the project funding was covered by outside sources, allowing the county to proceed with the project.
WK Dickson has been providing engineering services to help develop the first phase of the proposed corporate area at the airport. This initial phase prepares the site for the future construction of four 100’x100’ corporate aircraft hangars. The project consists of the construction of new asphalt apron and taxiway pavements, an access road and parking area, excavation and embankment, clearing and grubbing, drainage pipes and structures, connection to the existing sewer system, fencing, and airfield lighting and signage. Our services included project management, grant administration, construction phase services, and quality assurance testing.
Construction of the initial phase of the project is projected to end in August 2019. Completion has been hampered by rain, including historic rainfall amounts during Hurricane Florence in September 2018.
Brandon Gray, executive director, adds, "This project signifies Wayne County’s commitment to aviation in our local economy. This expansion will increase the jetport’s economic impact to Wayne County and the State of North Carolina. We will have the infrastructure in place to aid in the expansion of business opportunities for decades. WK Dickson has played a vital role in making this dream a reality. The expertise and guidance their team has provided has proved to be invaluable.The Wayne County Board of Commissioners, FAA, NCDOT Division of Aviation, and the Golden Leaf Foundation have made this possible for Wayne County, we are blessed to have such great leadership.”
Ultimately, this project demonstrates a concerted commitment of the county to the airport to promote the local economy and local businesses and will lead to tremendous growth for the county and increase the economic viability of the airport. The WK Dickson team is honored to have been a part of this group effort to bring the project to fruition and help the Wayne Executive Jetport continue to be a vital economic driver in their community."
Total Project Cost: $5,238,371
- NCDOT Economic Development - $3,615,189
- FAA Non-Primary Entitlement (NPE) - $587,306
- Golden LEAF - $200,000