WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) are urging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use its Airport Improvement Program (AIP) to help the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport (SBY) expand its runway to attract greater options for local residents, businesses and visitors. The AIP was created for the purpose of funding airport projects like runway extensions that improve the safety, security, capacity and environmental concerns at airports nationwide. Cardin and Van Hollen wrote to the FAA Acting Administrator in full support of its effort lengthen its runway to retain Piedmont Airlines, a major employer and major carrier in the region. Piedmont recently retired its Dash-8 turbo-prop planes and will be replacing them with Embraer 145 jets that can operate with greater safety, under a broader range of conditions, with a longer, 8,000 foot runway.
“The Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport is an important hub for local economic activity. Federal investments in SBY will make a real difference in generating jobs and quality of life for the area,” said Senator Cardin, Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “This is an opportunity that we cannot turn away. Continuing federal investment in the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport will be a tremendous benefit to Wicomico County and the entire Eastern Shore.”
“The Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport is critical to the economic success of the Eastern Shore and the federal government has an important role in helping regional airports like this expand to meet future needs. This investment will do just that, boosting jobs and commerce. We will keep pushing to secure this important funding for Wicomico County,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Budget and Appropriations Committees.
The full letter is below and is available at this link.
September 7, 2018
The Honorable Daniel K. Elwell
Federal Aviation Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20591
Dear Acting Administrator Elwell,
We write to express our strong support for the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport’s application for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding to expedite the extension of the primary runway to no less than 8,000 feet.
The Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport (SBY) is critical to the security and commercial viability of the Delmarva Peninsula and its more than 1 million residents. SBY is the only Air Carrier Airport on the Delmarva Peninsula and annually serves 6,744 scheduled airline operations, 13,675 military aircraft operations and 22,862 general aviation operations.
However, in order for SBY to be a viable option for companies such as Piedmont Airlines, UPS and FedEx and federal, state and local disaster response teams – all of whom are phasing in larger jets – SBY’s runway must be extended to 8,000 feet (as documented in SBY’s Master Plan).
We are particularly concerned about SBY’s ability to retain Piedmont/American Airlines, a major employer for the Salisbury area that provides essential commercial air service to the Delmarva region, generates 80% of SBY’s revenue and represents an annual economic impact estimated in excess of $74 million.
We urge you to support SBY’s runway extension project and future improvement projects to give SBY the flexibility to keep its current customers and attract new ones. Your support is crucial to the economic viability of this small, regional airport and the Delmarva Peninsula. We thank you for your continued support.