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September 8, 2020 · OPINION

Airport improvements key to economic development

Photo/Lawrence Emerson
Two-story lounge of the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport’s new terminal.
By Katie Heritage

I visited the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport on Sunday to see not only the amazing “World War II Flying Fortress” on display there, but to see the beautiful new terminal.

The display of the plane was great, but the importance of the terminal is greater. It will bring in more corporate jets and business prospects.

Flying into a crummy, broken down old airport with no amenities does not attract business. Flying into a beautiful new terminal where there are amenities, a pilots’ lounge, WiFi, restrooms and showers, and state-of-the-art conference facilities WILL bring business.

And the more planes that fly in, the more fuel is sold. That’s what it is all about.

Our taxpayers should know that the county considers the airport an “enterprise fund” and contributes very little taxpayer money to support it. The airport must do its best to support itself on hangar rental fees and fuel sales.

The beautiful new terminal was made possible by the many millions of dollars that David Darrah, our excellent airport director and a distinguished former Marine flyer, was able to bring in from the state and federal governments, as well as the very generous donations of friends and supporters of the airport.

The writer is a former deputy county administrator in Fauquier.
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Rover 530 · October 2, 2020 at 1:30 pm
I don't have the precise answers to the questions proposed but the airport is addressed in the County's Comprehensive Plan and in the Warrenton-Fauquier Municipal Airport Master Plan. Both of these can be obtained from county government. The Warrenton-Fauquier Airport does support nearly 140 jobs and contributes about $15 million in overall economic activity to the region. It serves as a reliever airport for the Dulles and National airports. You may also check out the following brochure published about a year and a half ago:
farmbum · October 2, 2020 at 6:45 am
Yes, Rover it is a part of a larger community. But what is the economic plan and return on investment for Fauquier by continued airport build out? And what build out will benefit Fauquier? More hangars? More technology to help aircraft navigate and land? More fuel stores? Longer runways? What about infrastructure to attract business? Warehouses? Data centers? Restaurants and hotels?
Rover 530 · October 1, 2020 at 5:26 pm
The Warrenton-Fauquier Airport is part of the aviation infrastructure of the USA. A General Aviation (GA) airport in a rural area may not see a lot of traffic, but it has and will continue to have a large impact on the local economy.

Nationally, GA generates over $200 billion in total economic input and contributes over $100 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product. The airports support about 1.1 million jobs and allow America’s smaller communities, such as Fauquier, to attract business and tourism.

General aviation airports often serve corporate aircraft and airplanes owned by individuals, universities, organizations, and businesses. They are used for emergency medical transports, the movement of products and local law enforcement. They provide access to small communities such as Fauquier. According to the FAA, 3 of every 4 takeoffs and landings at U.S. airports are by general aviation aircraft and most occur at general aviation airports.

Because of the growth at these smaller airports, projects such as construction of new terminals, hangar upgrades and runway expansions are ongoing. Such projects have strong support from local and regional leaders and attract federal funding. As the writer described, the new airport terminal is beautiful, well-constructed and useful to the GA industry.

The economic impact of general aviation airports is felt in cities and regions throughout the U.S. It’s important to ensure the ongoing support of general aviation airports in the U.S. Their continued growth and use create economic vitality, jobs and contracting opportunities that benefit all citizens and taxpayers not just those who own aircraft.
farmbum · September 23, 2020 at 7:24 am
Exactly what "economic development" is Fauquier interested in?

The airport has to compete with both Manassas and Stafford. Look at their surrounding infrastructures and tell/show us the long-term plan for Warrenton.
Lexon · September 22, 2020 at 6:26 am
It would be cool if convertible cars could be rented at the airport immediately after landing. This is especially cool when people come to rest in warm countries. Just imagine that right after the plane, you boarded a cabriolet and drove to your hotel with a swimming pool.
Jeffersonian American · September 10, 2020 at 7:46 am
The ever-expanding regional airport is sure to improve our quality of life here in Fauquier County with ever-increasing overflights and associated flying lawnmower Ultralights, Turboprops, Learjets, and other associated noise over our homes and farms, such as screaming skydivers overhead and extra loud flight profiles from the jump planes; more County, State and Federal Drone Flights of all kinds, etc.

Isn't that wonderful? Pretty soon we'll be welcoming commercial airliners and Fauquier hopefully some day soon will be as big as Dulles International Airport! Think of the JOBS and DEVELOPMENT that is possible! We'll become as big as the New Jersey Meadowlands!

And say goodbye to the former quality of life which once made Fauquier County a unique and beautiful place in Virginia and America, once thousands of more noisy overflights are coming in and out of the wonderful new facility- soon we'll be right up there with Dulles, Atlanta-Hartsfield, Chicago and New York.

Imagine that- ever-increasing higher taxes and ever-increasing, massive amounts of airport traffic noise and overflights! Isn't that absolutely wonderful? We have the chance to rival the annual economic development of Fairfax (Unfairtax) County to our North! It's just too bad for those who once enjoyed their tranquil farms and homes in the surrounding countryside- they should just sell their land to New York Developers and get out of the way of Fauquier Commercial Aviation Progress (read: noise) over their heads day and night.

One thing is certain for those who have to live both near and now further away from the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport.

This viewpoint and this mindset does extend the Boundaries of Hell.
nonewtaxes · September 8, 2020 at 5:49 pm
The county should sell the airport. I challenge you to show how it benefits the average county citizen. Let the .6% of the people in the county take over the airport at their expense
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