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10 NC Airports Receive Improvement Funds

Elizabeth City Regional Airport. Photo:

Two of the 10 airports awarded for state and federal funding for safety and airfield improvement projects are on the coast.

State funds totaling $12.75 million have been awarded for various projects that help the airports increase capacity, attract new jobs and businesses to their communities, and improve safety for pilots and passengers, the North Carolina Department of Transportation announced Thursday.

The board approved the funds during its March 4 meeting that will be distributed by the NCDOT Division of Aviation, and doesn’t necessarily represent the total cost of a project.

Elizabeth City Regional Airport has been approved for $2.79 million in state funds for taxilane, apron and site development at and $300,000 in state funds to update the Airport Layout Plan at Tri-County Airport near Ahoskie.

At Moore County Airport, $1.66 million in additional state funds will go to a full overhaul of the exiting airfield lighting system and signage, which had begun to fade with age. With the United States Golf Association moving their headquarters to the region and the U.S. Open Golf Tournament now coming to Pinehurst on a regular basis, airport manager Scotty Malta sees the need for the airport to keep up with the region’s growth.

“To keep our customers safe, we need to make sure our airfield lighting is fully operational and up-to-date,” Malta said in a release, adding that the new lighting system will be entirely LED, which helps the airport’s bottom line while shining brighter than traditional bulbs. “The switch to full-LED lighting will also reduce our operational costs compared to traditional lights, since LEDs don’t burn out, and allow us to invest even more in the future growth of this airport.”

Other state airports to approved for funds by the N.C. Board of Transportation are the following:

  • $1.08 million in state funds for airfield lighting rehabilitation at Asheboro Regional Airport.
  • $3 million in additional state funds for the construction of an aircraft apron at Harnett Regional Jetport in Lillington.
  • $135,000 in state funds for phase II design of the apron rehabilitation at Laurinburg-Maxton Airport.
  • $85,000 in additional state funds for taxilane site development at Shelby-Cleveland County Regional Airport.
  • $3.7 million in state funds for apron pavement rehabilitation at Wayne Executive Jetport near Goldsboro.

Officials said North Carolina’s 72 public airports serve as economic engines connecting people and business enterprises with the world. Airports and aviation-related industries contribute more than $61 billion to North Carolina’s economy each year, according to the 2021 State of Aviation report. They support 373,000 jobs, generate more than $2.5 billion in state and local tax revenue, and provide more than $15 billion in personal income.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.