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The Onslow County Board of Commissioners have accepted a Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program grant totaling $8,420,073. Albert J. Ellis Airport will use the funding for a runway rehabilitation project, milling over 144,000 square yards of asphalt and placing an estimated 28,000 tons of asphalt.
Chris White, Director of the Albert J. Ellis Airport, says the project is expected to begin in the spring of 2023 and will significantly benefit the community. “Airport runways are among some of the most critical and utilized infrastructure at airports. With aircraft weighing upwards of 300,000 pounds zooming down at over 150 knots this pavement experiences forces unlike most roadways. Its normal for the pavement to be rehabilitated every 10-20 years and the cost of paving has tracked with oil, making the financial support provided by the FAA and NCDOT immensely valuable.”
North Carolina has also appropriated $2,462,397 in the recent state budget for additional airport improvements at OAJ. This funding will provide site work for future hangar development, updated navigational aids, new and upgraded facilities, and more.
White says flyers can expect more great things, “With an updated airfield and fresh facilities, OAJ is well positioned to serve our growing community well into the future. We’re also not complete upgrading OAJ and more transformational projects are on the horizon, designed to expand opportunities.”
Last year the State approved $29 million in funds to lengthen the runway at OAJ, allowing for larger aircraft and longer flights. This, combined with the newly awarded grants for airport improvements are designed to boost quality of life and benefit economic development efforts in Onslow County.
According to a 2021 study commissioned by NCDOT, the Albert J. Ellis Airport supports 3,460 jobs that create an economic impact of $565 million annually and generate approximately $20 million annually in local and state taxes.