MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — The Berkeley County Council was briefed by Nic Deihl, executive director of the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport Authority, on Thursday about more federal funding for a fast-growing West Virginia eastern regional airport.
The region is growing so fast that demand for airport services is increasing. An infusion of federal cash is helping with more LED lighting and communications technology.
“Our operations are up significantly,” Diehl said. “We are the second busiest airport in West Virginia.”
The airport partners with the 167th National Guard Airlift Wing. The funding amounts to close to $1 million.
Over the past year, with COVID dramatically changing lifestyles and passenger air travel habits, the airport in Martinsburg has attracted a lot more passenger traffic.
“The growth comes during this pandemic when a lot more people are flying in private aircraft and individually versus commercially,” said Diehl.
That’s on top of a flight school based at Eastern Regional with a growing demand for lessons. Charter services are a popular alternative to the bedlam of flying with the major carriers.
“That’s one of our largest revenue generators; is selling fuel, and we’ve been able to sell quite a bit of it this year,” Diehl explained.
More traffic at Eastern Regional means more small business growth for the region, servicing the airport operations. Martinsburg isn’t the only West Virginia airport benefiting from more federal funding. Four other airports in the Mountain State will be sharing in this new round of federal air transportation grants totaling $2.9 million.
Diehl told the council members at Thursday’s session that it will participate in funding the county’s July 2022 fireworks display with the City of Martinsburg.