MANASSAS, Va. – Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, some smaller airports in the Washington region have had trouble staying open. They are too close to the capital and under tight flight restrictions, but that has been a bonus for some of the small airports just outside the 25-mile security zone.
Manassas Regional Airport, 30 miles from D.C., pumped more than $234 million into the local economy in 2010, according to a new Virginia Department of Aviation Economic Impact report. The airport also added more than 1,000 jobs in 2010.
There are now plans to extend the main runway in early 2012 and make taxiway and lighting improvements that could increase air traffic. Once that’s done, the airport would be able to handle longer flights to either the West Coast or Europe.
Air traffic now consists of mostly corporate jets, some cargo flights and general aviation. There were 80,000 take-offs and landings at Manassas in 2010. There are 23 businesses operating out of the airport.
Manassas Mayor Harry Parrish says the airport is one of the most significant assets for the region.
“It’s not a Dulles, and it’s not a National, but it can provide great transportation alternatives for this northern Virginia region,” says Parrish.
Parrish says that despite the expansion of the runway, they are not talking about any regularly scheduled passenger flights from Manassas. He adds that they work closely with Prince William County, which controls most of the land around the airport to make sure there are not noise issues.