Oneonta Airport to Apply for FAA Grant

June 24, 2024

Jun. 20—The Oneonta Albert S. Nader Regional Airport is set to apply for a new grant program made available by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Common Council passed the motion unanimously Tuesday, June 18 to allow the airport to apply for the program.

The airport is seeking grants totaling $430,483. FAA funding encompasses 90% of the funds, or $387,434. Funding from the state Department of Transportation amounts to 5%, or $21,524. A local share of $21,525 matches the NYSDOT percent.

Oneonta Airport Commission Chairperson Martijn Kamerbeek said Tuesday that the Airport Capital Improvement Plan provides funds to clear approaches to the airport runway, removing 14 acres of obstruction.

"I talked to pilots who mentioned they're flying into the airport, but they're definitely not flying into our airport at night because the path is not working," he said.

There also is a project in the works for the relocation of the automated weather observation station with $1 million available — a $900,000 NYSDOT share and a $100,000 local share approved by the council on April 21, 2020.

Kamerbeek said that since this was a unit-cost bid, which can be amended to fit within the budget.

He added that that pilots use the weather observation station to start listening to the weather from 10 miles out. This allows them to know which runway to use.

"This is a project that revolves around safety, and that's why the FAA is paying the majority of this," he said. "They're willing to do that because this is regular maintenance that any airport has to do."

Kamerbeek said that the airport makes most of its profit from renting out private hangars and selling fuel. He said that if these changes aren't made, the runway won't be able to accommodate larger jets.

With this maintenance, they will move the weather station and make room for a plot of land that pilots can lease.

"It will allow us to open up a lot of space, and we have interest from private investors who want to build their own hangar there at no cost to the city," he said.

Kamerbeek said that the airport has had issues with strained NYSDOT relations. He said that rejecting this offer would erode that relationship.

The airport is used for medical emergencies or other important situations where out-of-town services have to come to Oneonta quickly, like a power outage, he said.

"This is a wonderful airport," he said. "We're very lucky to have this here."

Jillian McCarthy, staff writer, can be reached at [email protected] or 607-441-7259.


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