Virginia Highlands Airport (VJI) celebrated the completion of a runway extension project with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, October 23.
The ceremony represented the cumulative efforts by the Airport Authority, the airport staff, the localities, Delta Airport Consultants, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Virginia Department of Aviation and multiple contractors in a project spanning more than 20 years. Since 2014, DOAV has granted $3.8 million in funding, which has leveraged approximately $35 million in federal funding from the FAA to complete the runway extension.
The extension of runway 6/24 increased the length from 4,471 feet to 5,500 feet. This extension makes the airport accessible to a family of aircraft that can now operate from the airport with higher fuel and passenger loads. VJI serves as a gateway to Southwest Virginia and the additional pavement opens the door to a variety of opportunities in the region.
“By adding more than 1,000 feet to the length of the runway at Virginia Highlands Airport, the economic development opportunities for Southwest Virginia have grown substantially,” said Greg Campbell, Director of the Virginia Department of Aviation. “The extension of the runway will allow most business-class aircraft access to the region in a variety of weather conditions. This makes doing business in and around Abingdon a more attractive option to more and more companies.”
The extension allows corporate and transient general aviation aircraft that would normally bypass the area and opt to land or base at other airports outside the Commonwealth, the ability to operate at VJI. Airport Manager Mickey Hines welcomed guests during a commemoration ceremony at the airport. Hines thanked those in attendance for their support over the years in seeing this project come to fruition.
“Over 20 years ago, the Washington County Board of Supervisors realized the importance and economic advantage to construct and maintain an up-to-date general aviation airport that would adequately serve the county and surrounding area,” Hines said. “Working with the FAA and DOAV, the Supervisors set out on a mission to accomplish their goal. By working together, we have reached that goal. We are excited to see all the benefits this runway extension project will bring to the county and surrounding area.”
Story credit: Virginia Dept. of Aviation