Angie Newsome/Carolina Public Press

Press release from the N.C. Department of Transportation, shared May 10:

RALEIGH — As part of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s ongoing commitment to improving aviation in North Carolina, the N.C. Division of Aviation awarded State Aid to Airports and federal block grants totaling $724,102 to Jackson County Airport in Sylva for capital improvement projects.

The airport received $435,900 in state funds for an apron expansion, as well as runway widening and enlarging the runway turnaround area. A federal block grant of $288,202 also will be used for the runway widening/turnaround project.

The runway will be widened from 50 feet to 60 feet to bring it up to standards for a smaller general aviation airport. Also, a turnaround will be constructed at one end of the runway to provide a location for an airplane to pull off the runway and conduct its pre- and post-flight activities safely.

The state funds came from the State Aid to Airports Program, which is NCDOT’s basic airport aid program. This program provides funds for the purpose of planning, acquiring, constructing or improving municipal, county and other publicly owned or controlled airports, and to authorize related programs of aviation safety, promotions and long-range planning.

The federal funds came from a $22,758,301 Federal Aviation Administration block grant that the Division of Aviation received at the end of September 2011. The DOA will be programming both grants out into multiple sub grants to general aviation airports across the state for a variety of capital improvement projects.

Jackson County Airport is a general aviation facility that has an approximate $17.6 million a year cumulative total impact on North Carolina and supports more than 150 jobs, based on a 2006 statewide economic impact study.

Since Gov. Bev Perdue took office in 2009, the Division of Aviation has awarded more than $125 million in funding to state airports. These funds enable airports across the state to provide improvements that support economic development and job opportunities.

For more information on North Carolina aviation, visit

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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