Maness to Return as Airport Executive Director
Economic development pro-spects and back-to-back U.S. Open golf championships in 2014 brightened a report by the Airport Authority at a Thursday night work session of the county commissioners.
The return of Ron Maness to assume the management helm was the other good news shared by authority Chairman John Owen.
Owen reported that Maness will re-assume the duties of executive director April 12. Carol T. Thomas, who has served as director since his departure last year, will remain on the staff as assistant executive director, the position she formerly held.
Maness resigned last summer to accept a position with a private airline but has completed that assignment and is returning to Moore County. Owen said Maness has expressed willingness to return to the airport position. Thomas had agreed to serve as executive director for no longer than one year.
"This will put our state, our community and the Moore County Airport in the national spotlight," said Hugh Bingham in reminding them of the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women's Open scheduled here in four years. Bingham is treasurer of the authority board.
Bingham said the airport sees other good news in BRAC projects and from the Federal Aviation Administration.
BRAC, which stands for the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, is expected to attract both business and residential development to Moore County in coming years because of the expected expansion at Fort Bragg.
The FAA is also helping with improvements to the major runway.
In a review of the airport master plan, Thomas projected $8 million in improvements in the 2011 fiscal year with lesser totals yearly through the 2015 fiscal year. Among the improvements are runway extension projects and land acquisition needed to provide the extension.
"The county has been a very good friend of the airport," Thomas said in reference to matching funds provided to draw down the FAA grants for multiple projects through the years.
Bingham said the authority is working hard to promote economic development through the "Gateway to the Future" theme for the airport. He said economic development is being promoted through national and regional corporate businesses, local businesses, travel, tourism and the airport as a stand-alone business. After all, the airport's functions include corporate aviation, charter aviation, emergency flights, disaster relief and law enforcement but are not confined to those functions.
The airport has an economic impact in excess of $86.3 million, according to the latest statement from the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT), Division of Aviation, he said. The study was carried out for NCDOT by the Institute of Transportation Research and Education.
That total breaks down into $68.9 million in indirect impact, $11.6 million in induced impact and $5.7 million in direct effect on the community.
Fuel sales constitute the major source of income for the airport. Other sources are landing/ramp fees, equipment charges, aircraft maintenance and hangar rentals.
The commissioners accepted the report with thanks and commended the authority for its work.
"Our airport is something the county can be proud of," Commissioner Jimmy Melton said. "That first impression when people land here is so very important."
Commissioner Larry Caddell added praise for the authority itself, which he called the best ever.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at (910) 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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