ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Officials at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport are unveiling their Master Plan and they’re looking for community feedback.
On Feb. 25, they hosted the first public information workshop as an opportunity for residents to learn more about the new plan and provide their thoughts on how the airport should grow in the next 20 years.
“We’re a community asset. We’re an economic development driver and so we want to hear what people think and what kind of growth they feel might happen and as a way of being open and transparent about the plan,” says Bradley Boettcher, Director of Marketing and Air Service Development at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.
The Master Plan will articulate the Airport Commission’s vision and strategy for the growth of the airport and provide the framework for future airport development.
Last year, the facility has seen nearly 720,000 passengers, a growth rate of 8.9% from 2018-2019.
Some goals of the new plan include creating a land-use design for possible expansion, maintaining safe and efficient operations, and minimizing the impact future airport development would have on the environment through sound environmental planning and awareness.
One concern on many resident’s minds: adding more flights to and from Roanoke.
“From the comments on everything we’ve had on social media, certainly air service is always the biggest topic, which is a big part of what I do on a daily basis,” says Boettcher.
Officials say the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport loses half of their traffic to other airports, which is why expanding the facility operations is such a huge concern.
The process of the Master Plan started in the summer of 2019 and consists of several phases.
So far, the Airport Commission has looked into existing inventory, conducted growth projections, and is in frequent contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on developing the study and verifying projections.
Officials say the Public Involvement Program is an important part of the process and will help move things along.
“Once we have the forecast finalized and get the public comment period in, then we’ll start looking at what type of aircraft are we probably be served by and what are our facilities going to need to do to accommodate that. If the forecast looks like it’s going to grow significantly, are we going to need to add a couple more gates to the facility or will we be able to operate as we’re set up right now? So it’s just continuing to figure out what those forecasts are, incorporate the public feedback, and then continue building on the plan,” says Boettcher.
There will be two more public information workshops for residents to provide feedback: one in the summer and the final workshop towards the end of 2020. Those dates have yet to be announced.
To learn more about the Master Plan, click here.
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