Lynchburg Regional Airport's Future Discussed

Lynchburg, VA - The future of the Lynchburg Regional Airport was the big topic of discussion at Tuesday afternoon's Campbell County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Airport Director Mark Courtney and the Campbell County Economic Development Office were meeting with the Board to discuss the decline in passenger travel numbers. Both parties will also present information on ways to improve sales.

Passenger traffic is down 5.2% from this time last year.

The Lynchburg Regional Airport is the hub of Region 2000's economy.

There is now talk about constructing a 100,000 square foot hangar on the grounds, for working on large planes all the way down to jets. The idea stemmed from a fairly new study called "Opportunity Lynchburg" created this summer by a consulting group.

"That's a pretty ambitious project and it was basically an economic development driven proposal," Courtney said.

Both the Lynchburg and Campbell County Economic Development Offices are working on the proposal.

"I'm hoping that the two authorities, the Lynchburg economic authority and the Campbell County economic authority will get together and go through this study," said Charles Falwell with the Board of Supervisors.

Once the authorities go through the proposal, they will present their final proposal to the Board.

The study says the airport is not getting the foot traffic it should.

"It's down a little bit now of course because you're at the end of the summer. School's back in, there aren't as many vacations, people aren't flying out," Falwell said.

Courtney says the decline is not hurting business.

"The fact that we're down slightly is not a big surprise," Courtney said.

Courtney says airports around the country are dealing with the decline. The trend now is to have fuller flights and raise rates.

"[They are] increasing their fares. System-wide there's been about a 10-percent increase in fares over the last year," Courtney said.

Courtney says the rainy summer may have depressed passenger travel numbers as well.

Tuesday's presentation to the Board of Supervisors was a general report, really just the first step in planning ways to better service the community.

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