Agreement for commercial flights at Manassas airport clears final vote

This article was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partner Sign up for’s free email subscription today.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner,, and republished with permission. Sign up for’s free email subscription today.

Manassas’ deal with Avports is in the books.

On Friday, the city council approved a second reading of its resolution approving the 40-year lease agreement between the Manassas Regional Airports and Avports. Now, the airport has 18 months to secure Federal Aviation Administration approval for commercial passenger flights while Avports secures its first “proof-of-concept” agreement with a commercial carrier to run up to 10 flights per day out of Manassas.

If the first phase of the agreement goes well, Avports has plans to expand the terminal building by roughly 30,000-square feet and create capacity for as many as 30 flights per day.

Friday’s vote was little more than a formality after the council voted last week to approve the lease agreement unanimously.

Avports officials say the benefits to the city-owned airport are greater than just the addition of commercial service. Avports will begin paying rent to the city in 2024. That first year will cost the company $504,000 before gradually increasing to more than $700,000 annually by 2026 and for the remainder of the 40-year contract.

Additionally, with more passenger flights, the airport will see additional revenues from fueling fees. And if the second phase of the plan ultimately comes to fruition, the airport will maintain ownership of the new terminal building that Avports pays to construct.

“Avports is taking the vast majority of the risks with their proposal,” Airport Director Juan Rivera told the city council at their first read of the agreement last Monday.

So far, Avports officials have remained quiet on which carriers might want to offer service and to where, and company representatives told InsideNoVa that such information might not be public for another year.

During two evenings of public comment on the proposal, critics of the proposal and neighbors of the airport were far from quiet over their concerns: namely that the noise and traffic emanating from the airport would increase. Rivera and Avports representatives said the noise from 10 additional planes per day would likely be almost negligible, and that massive Boeing 747-style jumbo jets would never be using the airport.

And if the company does choose to move forward with the terminal expansion, that would require extensive environmental review conducted by the FAA, which would include noise, traffic, wildlife and other studies.

Mayor Michelle Davis-Younger said the change would be for the city’s benefit.

“Change is hard but it can be done,” she said at last Monday’s vote. “With growth comes growing pains. … The city is moving forward, the city is growing, people are coming here by droves. Businesses want to move here, we have to be ready for it.”

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up