Airport plans to return to pre-COVID figures by the end of July
June 20 – MORGANTOWN – By all indications, 2020 was going to be a banner year for Morgantown Municipal Airport.
It was emerging from a somewhat resurgent year 2019 in which the number of boardings jumped by nearly 2,000 passengers compared to 5,488 in 2018.
In the first two months of 2020, airport manager Jonathan Vrabel said MGW was on track to surpass 10,000.
Then it all came to an abrupt halt.
“The airline was doing well. We had more passengers on board than we ever had in previous years,” he said. “Our fuel sales were good and strong. Business aviation was busy. Things were going in the right direction. The economy looked really strong. But when the pandemic hit, it all stopped.”
The result was an airport shutdown, resulting in a 67% drop in operations for the year.
In the first few months of the pandemic, Vrabel said airport staff traded their usual jobs for terminal beautification or landscaping projects. Then, around mid-summer, customers started to return, albeit slowly at first.
“The airline expects it will return to pre-COVID levels around the end of July,” he said. “Business aviation is getting busier. We are also seeing this increase, but we are still not where we were before the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, work continues on the $ 40 million runway extension project.
In February, Morgantown City Council unanimously voted in favor of a contract totaling $ 5,753,978.10 with Doss Enterprises for Phase 1 of the extension project, which will add 1,001 feet to the runway, the bearing to 6,200 feet.
“We’ve been energizing for about the last two weeks, getting the aggregate well and loose so they can start moving it around and pulling it apart,” Vrabel said, noting that Phase 1 should continue until the start. from 2022.
It was previously explained that over 4 million cubic meters of earth will need to be moved to support the expansion. This dirt will come from the future site of a commercial park.
The extension project is expected to last five years.
At that time, Vrabel said, the airport will likely undergo a complete rebranding. Although nothing was decided, Morgantown Gateway Airport was proposed as a new name, which would align with the federal airport identifier, MGW.
Based on the number of flights, MGW is the state’s busiest airport, serving approximately 55,000 flight operations each year. Southern Airways Express has been the airport’s commercial carrier since 2016.
Anyone interested in following the track project can do so at futureofmgw.com.