Sussex County-owned Delaware Coastal Airport given OK for apron expansion

By Glenn Rolfe
Posted 8/26/21

GEORGETOWN — New hangars are in the works.

An extension of the main runway remains a prime focus in the long-range plan.

And with federal support, another project at Delaware Coastal Airport — apron expansion — is now taxiing for takeoff.

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Sussex County-owned Delaware Coastal Airport given OK for apron expansion

Posted

GEORGETOWN — New hangars are in the works.

An extension of the main runway remains a prime focus in the long-range plan.

And with federal support, another project at Delaware Coastal Airport — apron expansion — is now taxiing for takeoff.

On Tuesday, Sussex County Council gave the green light to accept funds and construction contracts to expand the general apron at the county-owned airport in Georgetown.

“Midsize jet aircraft is our target aircraft. We have documented needs for the parking associated with it,” said Sussex County Engineer Hans Medlarz.

County Council unanimously accepted two Federal Aviation Administration grants, totaling $2,157,299, and then approved the construction bid from George & Lynch at $1,933,799, as well as a consultant contract with Delta Airport Services not to exceed $220,000. Both are contingent upon final FAA approval.

“This is a 100% federal cost-share project because of the tie-in to the pandemic,” Mr. Medlarz said. “So there is no state share, and there is no county share. All of the eligible amounts flow back to us in the form of a grant.”

The initiative involves approximately 3.7 acres near the terminal and consists of a new bituminous concrete tarmac and associated drainage improvements.

According to Airport Manager Bob Bryant, construction is expected to begin in late September and will require a winter shutdown. It will resume in the spring, with anticipated completion by summer 2022.

Increasing aircraft apron space is a component in Delaware Coastal Airport’s long-term strategy to boost aviation safety and economic development. Other projects include extending Runway 4-22 from 5,500 to 6,000 feet, an ongoing upgrade of airfield lighting and improving aircraft storage options.

Additionally, in February, County Council agreed to a 30-year lease with Schell Aviation LLC, a subsidiary of homebuilder Schell Brothers LLC. Under this agreement, Schell Aviation is constructing two hangars, totaling 20,000 square feet, and will lease the land annually at 40 cents per square foot, escalating every five years with the consumer price index, capped at 15%.

A 500-foot extension in late 2013 increased the main runway to 5,500 feet, enabling the airport to accommodate jets up to the Boeing 737. An additional 500 feet would allow larger jets to take off and land. Extending the runway to 6,000 feet requires that a portion of Park Avenue (also known as Del. Truck 9) be relocated.

The county airport’s mission is for strong partnerships with local, state and federal government officials, as well as area business leaders, in hopes that the facility and adjacent industrial parks will keep attracting new companies to Sussex.