After a spring Cultice described as “terribly slow” because of reduced travel and business activity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, activity at the airport has begun picking back up.
That includes flyers as well as visitors to the Champaign Aviation Museum, the Mid-America Flight Museum off Texas “Restoration Wing,” the Grimes Flying Lab Museum and the Airport Cafe.
In Clark County, airport manager Seth Timmerman said the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport received $69,000 for operating costs and has applied for additional grants for improvement projects.
The money it has received will be used primarily for payroll, meaning Timmerman and the other two full-time employees of the airport should be able to avoid taking pay reductions.
An 86-percent reduction in fuel sales is the biggest financial impact felt so far at the airport in Springfield, which like the one in Urbana is primarily utilized for general aviation.
“That’s kind of your normal ‘Joe’ who doesn’t really do it for business,” Timmerman said. “Then you have your corporate aircrafts, which is like your Lear or Challenger jets, Gulfstreams, King Airs, things like that. Those are usually for business, charter flights. Things like that, just people who are coming to Springfield or Yellow Springs or somewhere local doing business. Or they live here.”
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U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s office announced the FAA awarded $1.1 million in federal grants to Ohio airports, the sixth time federal dollars have flowed to state airports since May.
In all, Ohio airports have received over $112 million in federal grants according to Portman.
“A functioning and effective aviation industry is critical to our U.S. economy,” Portman said in a statement. “During this ongoing coronavirus pandemic, travel has significantly changed leaving the aviation industry in a tough economic position.”
With attractions such as the museums, Cultice said the long-term outlook for the airport in Urbana is “fantastic.”
“Pilots are always looking for a reason to go fly, it’s a very busy, popular place when the weather’s good and pilots can get out and fly,” he said.
Timmerman also sounded optimistic.
“I think if everything continues going how it has out here at the airport and nothing really gets any worse, I think we’ll be all right,” Timmerman said.