Smith Mountain Lake Airport Has Plans To Expand

Smith Mountain Lake, VA - The weather is warming up which means Smith Mountain Lake is nearing its prime season.

The airport in Bedford County, which changed ownership a few months ago, is gearing up for the traffic and neighboring businesses are as well.

While most businesses along the water open up the first weekend in May, those surrounding the runway at Smith Mountain Lake Airport, are working to expand. They want the lake community to see a huge boom in business this summer.

It's an opportunity for the airport to develop and the area to develop, said Joe Borgess who after 25 years flying as a Pan-Am Pilot bought the Smith Mountain Lake Airport.

It has been his for 34 years.

"I fell in love with it and I bought it," said Borgess.

Now ready to retire a second time, he sold the airport in November to Moe Bazazaan who lives in New Jersey.

It's going to be an investment, hopefully it's going to build up," said Borgess.

For those that have hangars along the runway like Robert Hartman, the sell and coming expansions mean exciting changes.

"The outlook is very bright, he's spending some money here," said Hartman.

The new owner has already put new self-service/credit card fuel pumps on the runway and priced the fuel at some of the lowest around.

"Having low priced fuel at the airport, brings traffic to us. So it's good for all of us," said Jack Phillips who co-owns Bedford Landings.

Perks like low-priced fuel means more business for places like Bedford Landings Bed and Breakfast.

"The airport's enhancing, pilots will want to come here and they'll want to spend the night hopefully and so that should lead to even more business, pilots love a destination," said Karen Debtor who co-owns Bedford Landings.

The expansion plan will not only bring people to the runway, but to the entire Smith Mountain Lake community.

"My business don't make money on tourism, but a lot of my friends do that own restaurants and business here and boat rentals and the more that come the merrier and the more money they make," said Hartman.

More changes include areas for maintenance and radio work repair, expanding the run way so the next level of air-craft, like corporate jets, can land, and there are hopes that flight training will be brought back to the airport.