We often tell kids to dream big, they can do anything they set their mind to. The truth is, no matter how old we are, we should always dream big. And that is what we do at Yeager Airport.
Having the military use CRW as a hub, while they train at old coal mine sites in West Virginia, was once a pipe dream. The same for the Marshall University Flight School and the United States Customs Building. At one point, all of these things were just an idea, a dream, but are a reality now at Yeager Airport.
All of these projects at CRW are being done with one goal in mind, make Yeager Airport the most important economic engine for West Virginia. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the construction projects going on around CRW.
Marshall University Bill Noe Flight School Construction at Yeager Airport
Construction of the Marshall University Bill Noe Flight School Classroom Building. Classes are scheduled to start in August 2021.
The groundbreaking for the Marshall University Bill Noe Flight School was on August 13th, 2020. Since then, construction has been fast and furious. Work on the classroom building and hangar have stayed ahead of schedule for most of the project.
Classroom Building- The entire frame of the school is up, the roof is on, and the siding for the building is starting to go on. Work on the inside of the building is making great progress too. Framing is done, and sheetrock is going up.
The Hangar- The hangar is also up, and siding is up, and the roof is on. Work is being done on the inside of the building now. The hangar is just to the left of the classroom building.
The first group of students is set to start in August this year. Both the classroom and hangar will be ready to go by then. These future pilots are going to have a state-of-the-art building for their education and training.
United States Customs and Border Patrol Building Project
Yeager Airport is home to the only Unite States Port of Entry in West Virginia. We have had a CBP agent for several years but never a dedicated building for him. He did his work either on the plane or at Capital Jet Center.
The United States Customs Building is being built beside Yeager Airport’s FBO Capital Jet Center. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021.
Getting a designated space for CBP has been on the radar at CRW for a few years. Construction started earlier this year and should be finished by the end of 2021. Footers have already been poured, and walls are already starting to go up. The building has to be built United States CBP specifications. When the building is finished, CRW will be on the map for international travelers looking to clear customs before heading to their final destination.
Yeager Airport Taxiway B Project
Two different projects happening on taxiway B. The first is a drainage project. This project is going to divert water away from taxiway B. This is a smaller but important project. Keeping the taxiways and runway as clear and dry as possible is important.
The next project on taxiway B is to give airplanes easier access to Capital Jet Center. As our general aviation customer base continues to grow and will get even bigger when the customs building opens, we thought this project necessary.
Before this project, general aviation aircraft did not have direct access to taxiway Charlie. Once finished, this project will make it easier for pilots to taxi to Runway 23.
Planes leaving Capital Jet Center now taxi on Bravo before jumping over to Charlie. After this construction is finished, planes will be able to have access to taxiway C, which is the old Runway 15/33, directly from Capital Jet Center. This will make for an easier route to and from Runway 5/23.
Exciting Projects at Yeager Airport
More construction is coming. Some plans were paused because of COVID-19, but the projects have not gone away. As passenger numbers start to return to normal, more projects are going to be placed back online. This new construction is going to give CRW a fresh look and feel. It will give passengers an exciting travel experience. It will make some once far-fetched dreams become reality.
To learn more about Yeager Airport contact us today! With service provided by American, Delta, Spirit, and United Airlines, you are just one stop from thousands of destinations worldwide.
2019 was a year for the ages at Yeager Airport. We had almost 500,000 passengers come through CRW. That was a five percent increase from 2018 and an 11 percent increase from 2017. We went into 2020 with a full head of steam, ready to tackle some major projects around the airport. Then everything changed in March of 2020.
Support Services staff cleaning check-in kiosks in March of 2020.
Businesses shut down, finding a can of Lysol wipes meant you won the lottery, and the traveling came to a halt. What started as a two-week quarantine went on for months. The airport felt like a ghost town, and it seemed like there was no end in sight.
On The Road To Recovery
Fast forward to today, and we are on the road to recovery. Masks are commonplace, social distancing is the new norm, and the vaccines are continuing to roll out across the country. The travel industry is making a comeback.
West Virginians do not give up, and neither does Yeager Airport. Even with passenger numbers down near single digits in 2020, we moved forward with many different construction and improvement projects. Working with our forward thinking board of members, we decided the airport would not need to play catch-up when passengers came back.
Yeager Airport Projects
Marshall University Bill Noe Flight School. If you have been to the airport viewing area recently, you can see just how fast this building is going up. Both the school building and hangar are on schedule to be ready for students in August 2021. Before the pandemic, there was already a pilot shortage, and with travel ramping back up over the next several years, the demand for pilots is only going to grow. I am excited that Yeager Airport, partnering with Marshall University, will be putting pilots into the air travel continue to rise.
Marshall University Bill Noe Flight School Classroom Building
Post-Security Restaurant. Our post-security gift shop and restaurant, The Junction, got a much-needed facelift in 2020. It now looks like something you would see in a hub airport. We are extremely proud of the experience we can now offer passengers while waiting for their flights.
The Junction is located in Gate B, just past the security checkpoint.
Planning for the future. With the addition of the flight school, an increase in military presence at CRW, and traveling numbers bouncing back, we are designing future projects. In the next couple of years, we plan on remodeling the restrooms in the main terminal, replacing the public address system and signage, and replace a passenger boarding bridge. We are also planning more aircraft parking aprons and hangars.
Customs Building. The ground has been broken, and footers have been poured for the United States Customs and Border Protection Facility. Once this facility is built, it will allow international general aviation passengers to stop at Yeager Airport to clear customs before proceeding to their final destination. This will be another great way to diversify revenue streams at CRW.
There are several projects in the pipeline at CRW, including bathroom renovations and upgrading the pre-security restaurant and checkpoint area.
Changing The Way We Clean
The pandemic also provided us an opportunity to look at how we clean the airport. Our goal was always to provide the cleanest facilities possible for our passengers, and I believe we did that pre-pandemic. However, we have now gone a step further. All of the air ducts at the airport have been professionally cleaned, all of the air conditioning vents have been replaced, and UV-C lights were placed in vents to help clean and filter the air.
Our cleaning staff, who have been tremendous during COVID-19, put together a schedule to ensure high touch point areas were being cleaned at least four times a day. In some cases, like the TSA Checkpoint, we had cleaning personnel dedicated to only cleaning that area.
Support Services member cleaning chairs after a flight takes off.
2020 was a rough year for everyone. April 15th, 2020, 15 people flew out of Yeager Airport. 15 passengers was a tough pill to swallow. But our confidence and dedicated team of employees never wavered. We weathered the storm, and now I believe we have come through the other side. We are not back to pre-pandemic numbers. That will take some time, but we are on the right track. West Virginians don’t quit, and neither does Yeager Airport.
In the COVID-19 world we are all living in, the information does not change day-to-day, it changes hour-by-hour. With the sheer amount of new information, how do you know when it is the right time for you to start traveling again? The short answer is, it is entirely up to you and how comfortable you are with taking to the sky. If you are struggling with the decision, Yeager Airport is here to help! We are going to take our best shot at answering the question: “Is it Safe to Fly.” All of the information in this article comes from airline leaders, as well as frequent travelers.
So, is it safe to fly?
This is not a yes or no question. With all of the precautions and guidelines, airlines are taking, flying now is safer than you might think. Most commercial airplanes are equipped with High-Efficiency Particulate Air, HEPA for short, filters. They are similar to the HEPA filters found in hospitals. These filters capture more than 99-percent of airborne bacteria, and continuously recirculate clean air throughout the cabin.
In a recent interview on the Masters of Scale podcast, Delta CEO Ed Bastian talked about an air study recently done by Delta.
“I tasked our team to measure the air quality onboard our flights, and we’ve been traveling with sensors on a number of flights and that they’ve found is indeed the quality of the air you breathe aboard our planes is somewhere between 7 to 10 times cleaners than a baseline measure of the grocery store you shopped in yesterday.”
Pre-COVID-19, commercial airplanes were wiped down and cleaned after most flights. However, during COVID-19, planes are cleaned and disinfected after each trip. Making the surfaces as clean as they have ever been. Most airlines are even spraying specialized disinfectants on seats, armrests, air controls, and seat belts.
Brian Kelly, CEO, and founder of The Points Guy, is an avid traveler. Kelly’s company is all about traveling smart. In a recent article, Kelly had the following to say about the cleanliness of the plane he was on.
“Normally planes get turned around for a new flight every hour, and most fights get a very quick cleaning. You can feel the slime on the plane. This was different, it felt and looked spick and span.”
Airlines are encouraging check-in at kiosks and are letting you scan your own boarding pass at the gate. Materials in the seatbacks have been removed, and most airlines are not filling their planes to capacity. Inflight service has also changed to limit contact with flight attendants.
Then there are masks. As far as airports go, most are following local and state guidelines. However, airlines are requiring all passengers to wear masks while on the aircraft. The only exceptions for masks requirements are young children and people with conditions that make breathing through a mask difficult.
In reality, the only person who knows if it is safe for you to fly is you. Airport and airlines across the country are working around the clock to keep you safe. At Yeager Airport, we clean and sanitize pretty much everything you see. We want you to feel comfortable at the airport, and the airlines want you to feel safe flying with them.
Where are you going first? Maybe you’re ready to start crossing destinations off your bucket list, or perhaps you want to go somewhere just because you can. Either way, there are some things you need to consider first before you travel post COVID-19 quarantine. Whether you’re going domestic or international, different places have different restrictions and guidelines.
Are you planning to travel internationally?
Mexico: Popular tourist spots like Cancun, Los Cabos, and Cozumel all have slightly different plans to reopen. However, most places are planning to start opening in some capacity by the first and second week of June. Mexico is already planning a major campaign to get tourists back. Hotel capacity fell to as low as 2.8 percent in Cancun during the height of COVID-19. If you’re planning a trip to your favorite spot in Mexico, it’s best to look up what Mexican state the city is in and see what their plan is for reopening.
Canada: Want to go north of the border? Well, right now, you can’t. The United States and the Canadian border are going to remain closed until June 21st, at least. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says an additional 30-day extension is not out of the question.
Central America: The majority of counties in Central America are shut down to tourists to some extent. The only exception is Nicaragua, which never really shut down. Belize, a popular stop on cruises, is not allowing tourists until at least July 1st. Panama has taken one of the strictest stances out of any country in Central America. Panama citizens are still in quarantine, and the country’s leaders are working on the gradual lifting of restrictions. If you’re planning a trip to Central America this summer or fall, you need to do your research before booking any flights. Each country is doing things differently.
Aruba: It’s looking like July 1st is the day international travelers can head back to Aruba. The Aruba Tourism Authority is asking travelers to contact your hotel and airlines if you already have a trip booked. They are asking you to confirm your hotels are going to be open, and your airline is indeed flying to Aruba.
Bahamas: Each island has different restrictions and different reopening dates. If you’re planning a trip here, make sure you the island you’re going to is open and international travelers are allowed.
Dominican Republic: As of now, tourism is starting on July 1st. However, the countries leaders say that date could change.
These are just a few of the popular spots CRW passengers visit. For a complete list of countries around the world. Including Europe and Asia, check out this article by “The Points Guy.” The material is regularly updated as countries make changes to their guidelines.
Are you wondering about a flight to different states in the United States? Much like the international community, each state’s restrictions and guidelines are different. At CRW, we have flights that go to Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, and Florida. And starting later this summer, the seasonal flight to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Washington, D.C.: The nation’s capital started a four-phase reopening process on May 29th. In phase 1, gatherings of 10 or more are prohibited, and restaurants can only do outdoor dining. Outdoor memorials and spaces at the National Mall and memorial parks are open, except for the Washington Monument, Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, and Old Post Office Tower Tour.
Pennsylvania: Each county in Pennsylvania is under different restrictions and timetables. If you’re planning a visit here, you can find a break down on the state’s health department page.
North Carolina: North Carolina is in phase 2 of their “Safer at Home” reopening plan. This phase runs through at least June 26th. The biggest question for North Carolina, are beaches open? Each beach is open to a different degree; most of the popular ones are open to some degree, though. Retail is open at 50 percent capacity, as are restaurants. Large venues, like sports stadiums, are open but with restrictions. Indoor music venues, bars, bowling alleys, etc. are still closed.
Georgia: Most businesses in Georgia are open with restrictions.
Illinois: Illinois has a five-phased reopening plan. It splits the state into four regions that can move through the five phases at different times. However, all four areas are in phase three right now. In phase three, bars and restaurants are open for delivery, pickup, and drive through only. Retail stores are open, but with capacity limits. State parks are open. Activities with ten or fewer people are permitted.
Florida: Florida has a four-phase plan to reopen. The state is currently in phase two. Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and the Volcano Bay water park are planning to open on June 5th. SeaWorld Orlando is preparing a June 10th reopening, and Walt Disney World theme parks are planning to reopen on July 11th. When these parks open, capacity is going to be limited; guests will have to wear masks and get their temperature taken upon arrival. Bars and restaurants across much of Florida are opening on June 5th. This does not include Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Restaurants and bars are going to operate at 50 percent capacity. Entertainment venues like movie theaters, concert houses, bowling alleys, and arcades are also opening at 50 percent capacity on June 5th.
South Carolina: South Carolina’s stay-at-home order expired on May 4th. Beaches, restaurants, bars, and retail stores are open. Some of these businesses have their own guidelines.
If we did not cover your final destination, here is a complete list of all the state’s restrictions and guidelines!