As New Terminal Nears Completion, CKB Gets $5M Worth of Good News

May 23, 2024

May 22—MORGANTOWN — The 'Move the Mountain' project will put the North Central West Virginia Airport in less debt than initially forecasted, the Benedum Airport Authority learned at Tuesday's monthly meeting.

As it nears completion, the airport's terminal construction project will cost close to $54 million. However, once it's completed the airport will be less than $5 million in debt. This will be thanks to a $10 million grant awarded by Gov. Jim Justice back when the project started. At the same time, the airport was able to raise $4.7 million locally from the city and county to do the project.

Bridgeport Mayor Andy Lang said governments work on the basis of completed projects when handing out grants.

"As we complete the project the grants and earmarks kick in," Lang said. "They'll be paying us back. So even though it's a $10 million loan, we'll have less than $5 million amortized at the end of the project."

The loan Lang refers to is an additional $10 million loan available to the airport aside from the $10 million grant and will function as a bridge loan. The money will be used to complete the final pieces of the construction project. The airport authority granted permission to apply for the loan from Huntington National Bank.

Airport Deputy Director Shawn Long also provided an update on the new terminal. The airport still expects the building to be completed by the fall. Escalators have been delivered onsite and Long expects those and the elevators be installed in the next month or so.

"We're really getting down here toward some finishing work," he said.

Bids for furniture, the apron project and taxiway project are out.

Director and Chief Instructor of Fairmont State University's aviation program, Joel Kirk, also floated what could be a money-making opportunity for the airport. A training squadron out of Pensacola, Florida that flies T-6 Texan IIs is relocating to Charleston to do their training. However, Kirk said with all the congestion in Charleston the squadron may be looking for another place to branch out to.

"Which is a cash cow if you can get involved with something like," Kirk said. "I'm going to call and find out why they're detaching, but there's about eight training squadrons and if they're looking at places to spend their summer, 20 jets burning jet fuel all summer is pretty lucrative."

Reach Esteban at [email protected]


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