Sussex airport gets $500K in federal grants as total support reaches $40 million


The state’s Congressional Delegation announced Federal Aviation Administration grants for the Delaware Coastal Airport’s runway expansion project.

Sen. Carper at a previous event at the Delaware Coastal Airport.

Late this week U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) joined airport and Sussex County representatives on the tarmac at the airport to announce the grants.

Improvements to the airport’s lighting, approaches and continued work to lengthen its runway are among the projects that will allow the airport attract more employers and aid existing companies.

Sussex County also operates a business and industrial park in the airport area. The county is working to broaden the job base beyond coastal tourism and agribusiness after seeing the long-running loss of manufacturing job at DuPont and other companies.

The airport is the home of Aloft AeroArchitects, a refitting company that converts large passenger jets into luxury aircraft.

The FAA provided Delaware Coastal Airport with two grant awards: $150,000 was provided for general airport operations, and $516,727 was awarded to update the airport’s master plan to extend the current 5,500-foot runway to 6,000 feet. This will allow larger planes to land at Delaware Coastal Airport. The short runway length is an issue when it comes to bringing in large jets.

“Thanks to the continued support of the federal government through FAA funding, and for our congressional delegation’s steadfast advocacy, Sussex County is able to take on projects like these that enhance, modernize and help grow business at Delaware Coastal Airport,” said County Council President Michael H. Vincent. “The master plan update, as well as some other improvements including the new taxiway, are critical to ensuring the airport remains a competitive and attractive option for the flying public and business community that depends on this critical transportation and economic linchpin.”

The Delaware Coastal Airport is a general aviation airport that serves Georgetown and Sussex County and is owned by Sussex County Council.

A former Navy airfield, it currently serves as a transportation gateway for numerous businesses and corporations around the country.

Over the past decade, the FAA has invested nearly $40 million in the airport for various projects, including extending its runway and installing taxiway lighting as part of ongoing improvements to encourage business growth.

The airport is not expected to attract airline service anytime soon, due in part to an airport in Salisbury, MD that is headquarters to American Airlines short-haul subsidiary, Piedmont. The airport is attracting more corporate and private aircraft.

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