Commissioners approve application for financing five new box hangars at Mid-Carolina Regional Airport
Published 12:10 am Friday, April 7, 2023
SALISBURY — In an effort to bring more business to Rowan County and expand the Mid-Carolina Regional Airport, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted Monday to apply to the North Carolina Local Government Commission for a financing contract to build five new box hangars for aircraft.
“If we’re going to grow this county, if we’re going to bring industry here, you’ve got to be up to speed with transportation needs,” Commissioner Craig Pierce said after the vote. “Corporate America does not drive anywhere anymore, they fly.”
The commissioners are applying for an $8.7 million finance contract and already have $5 million in additional funding set aside. The estimated cost of the project is $12.6 million, which includes construction of a 15,000-square-foot corporate box hangar, a 15,000-square-foot public safety hangar and three 4,000-square-foot row hangars. A better equipped instrument landing system, which provides guidance to aircraft during landing at night or in bad weather, would also be purchased with the funds.
If the application is approved, commissioners would issue a request for proposals for the project.
Pierce said Aerowood Aviation, a flight training school, is expected to take up residence in the corporate hangar once it is completed, but a lease has not been signed. Aerowood’s owner and CEO, Brandon Atkinson, owns Charter Jet Transport, a private charter service, which will also be using the new hangar. Charter Jet Transport has a partnership with the Charlotte Hornets, providing flights for players’ families and sponsors of the team.
The public safety hangar will be used by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and will hold the agency’s helicopters. The hangar will also give the highway patrol additional space for equipment and training, a space to house a full staff during active missions and faster launch capabilities, according to a presentation from Valerie Steele, the airport’s director.
“This is not just we want to go build hangars, we have customers waiting for these hangars,” Pierce said.
He also emphasized that the growth of the airport will increase the county’s tax base and generate more revenue through fuel sales.
The five new hangars will use the rest of the airport’s land that has access to an existing taxiway. Talks of constructing another one so the airport can continue to expand are in the works.
“We do have more land, it’s just hard to get to with an airplane when you don’t have a taxiway,” Steele said.