Sept. 3, 2013
The Rutland, Herald newspaper recently declared that business use of the Edward F. Knapp State Airport (MPV) in Barre, VT is “vital” to the economy.
“The fact that a newspaper is willing to showcase the role of business aviation in an article like this is wonderful,” said Dean Saucier, NBAA’s Northeast regional representative.
The airport is an important contributor to the local economy because it provides easy access to the Barre-Montpelier area, according to the article.
“Our airport is three minutes from the state capital at Montpelier and three minutes from downtown Barre,” said George Malek, president of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce. “Business people arriving by company airplanes don’t have to drive an hour [to get to their final destination], and they appreciate that. It allows business decision-makers to get to this area quickly, and that’s critical.”
“There are lots of companies that use the airport weekly,” said State Aeronautics Administrator Guy Rouelle.
Edward F. Knapp State Airport has two runways, and a precision instrument approach despite the rugged terrain. In 2009 the state-owned airport received FAA funding of $6.6 million to refurbish both runways, add a full parallel taxiway, replace field lighting and the airport’s electrical vault, and build a new fuel farm that offers both 100LL and Jet A.
The area around the airport is central Vermont’s fastest-growing industrial and commercial area, but the airport took a hit during the 2007 recession and is still feeling aftereffects. Takeoffs and landings last year totaled 24,000, down from 32,000 in 1998. However, aircraft fuel sales were up in 2012, and the latest airport master plan update calls for more than doubling the size of the aircraft parking ramp and construction of new business aircraft hangars.
“For many citizens our airport is out of sight so it’s out of mind,” said Malek. “They see local businesses prospering and working with larger businesses elsewhere, but they often don’t realize that our airport was the front door for the larger businesses.”