Yeager Airport (CRW) will soon be on a NEW map as construction of a standalone United States Customs and Border Protection building wraps up this November.
While CRW does not concurrently offer non-stop, international commercial flights, the Airport is West Virginia’s only U.S. Customs and Border Protection port of entry.
This standalone facility goes hand-in-hand with the Airport’s international designation, which will become official on January 1, 2022, when CRW becomes West Virginia International Yeager Airport.
Currently, only five states do not have an international airport, and West Virginia is one. That can be a negative factor for some companies looking to relocate their business to West Virginia; being near an international airport is considered necessary.
WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE CUSTOMS & BORDER PROTECTION FACILITY?
The U.S. Customs facility at CRW will handle Customs-clearance for private and military aircraft carrying up to 20 persons, thus significantly increasing air operations at Yeager Airport. In addition, the building will support foreign trade.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL DESIGNATION?
To be classified as an “international airport,” an airport must have a U.S. Customs building on the premises. The Airport does not have to have international commercial service. As CRW’s U.S. Customs Building will be complete in December, the Airport is officially permitted to add “international” to its name. This name addition will put General Yeager’s legacy on an international stage.
Airport officials and tourism partners are exploring opportunities to attract international commercial service through Customs and Border Protection Preclearance. With Preclearance, travelers clear customs at one of 16 preclearance locations in 6 countries, then bypass CBP and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inspections upon U.S. arrival and proceed directly to their connecting flight or destination.
Today, CBP has more than 600 officers and agriculture specialists stationed at 16 Preclearance locations in 6 countries: Dublin and Shannon in Ireland; Aruba; Freeport and Nassau in The Bahamas; Bermuda; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg in Canada.
WHO WILL BE UTILIZING THE NEW FACILITY THE MOST?
Private general aviation and military aircraft that need to clear U.S. Customs will utilize the facility.
We expect several hundred international flights to clear Customs at CRW each year. In addition, flights that may not be destined for our state now have the option to stop at CRW to quickly and conveniently clear Customs utilize the services of Capital Jet Center.
WHAT DO U.S. CUSTOMS OFFICERS CHECK FOR?
U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) mission is to protect the American people, safeguard our borders, and enhance the nation’s economic prosperity. Its mission is complex at ports of entry with broad law enforcement authorities tied to screening all foreign visitors, returning American citizens and imported cargo that enters the U.S. at more than 300 land, air and sea ports. The CBP’s mission includes is to:
Counter Terrorism – Anticipate, detect and disrupt the threat of terrorists, their weapons and actions to protect the people and economy of the United States.
Combat Transnational Crime – Detect, deter and disrupt transnational organized crime that threatens U.S. national and economic security interests at and beyond the border.
Secure the Border – Protect the Homeland through the air, land and maritime environments against illegal entry, illicit activity or other threats to uphold national sovereignty and promote national and economic security.
Facilitate Lawful Trade and Protect Revenue – Enable fair, competitive and compliant trade and enforce U.S. laws to ensure safety, prosperity and economic security for the American people.
Facilitate Lawful Travel – Enhance, enable and transform the travel experience by anticipating, detecting and intercepting threats prior to and at ports of entry.
It’s no secret that air travel has been impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
At Yeager Airport, travel is picking back up and we are almost back at pre-pandemic levels.
According to the latest Longwoods International tracking study of American travels, the majority of American travels have some level of vaccination with 57% fully vaccinated. That number is up from March and April.
George Zimmerman with Longwoods International believes travel attitudes go hand-in-hand with the state of the pandemic.
“The travel industry will not fully recover until it’s generally accepted we have beat the virus,” said Zimmerman.
According to Longwoods International data, 30% of people are still planning on traveling between October and December, even with the spread of the Delta Variant. However, the same data shows 15% have postponed travel plans to 2022. Unlike during past pandemic surges, it appears not that many Americans are dropping their vacation plans entirely.
In regard to the possibility of a mandated vaccine, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on Sunday said, “We have not yet gotten to the point of requiring vaccinations on domestic flights, but everything is on the table.
When it comes to international travel, 54% support vaccination requirements or proof of immunity for all international travelers coming into the United States.
“When it was terrible at the beginning, obviously travel was way down. Then the vaccines came and all of a sudden there was optimism. When people got vaccinated things started to pick back up. We were rolling around until June and July and that’s when the Delta variant started taking a hold of the U.S., the numbers started to reverse and daily cases were going up, hospitalizations were up and once that happened the travel’s attitude started to fall.”
The chart below shows passengers who have crossed Transportation Security Administration airport security checkpoints each day since March 2020.
Passengers who have crossed Transportation Security Administration airport security checkpoints each day since March 2020.
Of course, there are safe ways to travel. Airlines and airports are still under a federal mask mandate. Daily cleanings are still being done on and off the planes.
During the pandemic, CRW has continued to increase cleaning efforts, especially in high point touch areas. Air ducts have been cleaned, UV-C lights in vents have been installed throughout the airport, as well as putting in new MERV filters. To add those efforts, CRW is now an ACI Health Accredited Airport.
In just a matter of weeks, there will be a chill in the air while you are drinking your morning coffee, the leaves will be starting to show some color, and the waters of the Atlantic Ocean will be a little colder. So, while your favorite summer vacation spots are winding down for the year, the best fall locations are just starting to heat up.
Charlotte is just one of the major cities you can fly to from Yeager Airport in under an hour. You might be thinking to yourself, “Charlotte, for a fall trip?” The Queen City might not be the first spot on your list for best fall locations, but we are here to convince you to make the short flight down to the southern part of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
American Airlines boarding a plane at Yeager Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
A Fall Oasis of Fun
First up on the list of things we would suggest is the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Wait, what? West Virginia already has world-class whitewater rafting. Why go to North Carolina for this? Let’s look at everything you can do at the whitewater center.
- Whitewater Rafting/Kayaking on the world’s largest manmade river.
- Navigate a rope course over the river.
- Jump from a 100 ft. platform.
- Ice skating
- Climb the world’s first deepwater solo climbing complex.
- Bouldering, top-rope, and sport climbing on one of the largest outdoor climbing complexes on the East Coast.
- Flatwater Kayaking
- Mountain Biking
Just looking at the Whitewater Center’s pictures has us ready to hop on the next flight to CLT. You can buy one or two day passes to this oasis of fun, or you can purchase single activity passes. Still not convinced, let’s look at some more things to do in the Queen City.
Overlooking the Charolette Skyline, one of the best fall destinations.
A Climbing Destination
Want to bring the outdoors inside? Inner peaks climbing is a massive indoor rock-climbing park for first-time climbers and the most advanced climbers. Inner Peaks has a great video on their website that shows everything you can do and then some. We will let the video speak for itself.
Charlotte is jam-packed full of things to do; we could never list them in all in just one article. Here is a list of items in Charlotte that are fun but you may have forgotten about:
The list could go on with all the fantastic restaurants and nightlife in Uptown. That could be a trip all on its own. The Discovery Place is a great place to take the entire family. The little ones will be busy all day there, exploring everything from wildlife to designing forts.
So, if the Queen City has never been on your radar for one of the best fall locations, we hope this article at least piques your interest. If you want to check out more of the exciting things to do in the Charlotte area, their visitor website is easy to navigate and provides links to all the attractions, restaurants, breweries, nightlife, and more.
We hope to see you hopping on a flight to CLT soon!