GREENWOOD (WISH) – The city of Greenwood has added new incentives they hope will attract more corporate jets to the city’s airport.
Airport and city officials say they launched two new incentives this year for those flying in to the Greenwood airport, and they say they’ve already seen immediate results.
This all started at the end of January.
Officials say they’ve eliminated all landing fees for aircraft and they also offer free aircraft parking.
They also decided to allow companies to enter into a contract fuel program: locking in at a set price for a period of time.
Airport Manager Lori Curless says in just the past month or so since they started offering the incentives, they’ve seen fuel purchases increase 50 percent since this time last year.
She says jet traffic has nearly doubled. As of this time last year, Curless says they’d seen 113 jet and turbin operations at the Greenwood Airport. This year, they’ve already seen 223.
City leaders say they’re hoping this increased traffic will not only increase revenue to the airport and to the surrounding areas, but could bring in companies – to stay.
“Corporate travel not only helps us with fuel sales, but it also helps us so that we can attract someone who wants to relocate, or expand into the Greenwood area. We have great tax rates, great restaurants, great hotels,” said Linda Gibson, who serves on the Greenwood City Council.
“These pilots and crew, their passengers coming in, they’re renting cars, they’re buying fuel, they’re staying in hotel rooms, going to restaurants. It’s the velocity of that dollar. They’re not just staying at the airport. It’s also supporting jobs,” said Curless. “We have six businesses on the airfield, supporting over 40 jobs at the airport. That feeds into the local community not only through direct impact, but also indirect.”
These new incentives are just part of the city’s investment in the airport.
In 2012, they extended the runway threshold to allow bigger aircraft to come in.
In January, the city approved funds for some major improvements at the airport: including new hangars to house these corporate jets and also for new lighting for the runway.
They also now have a quiet room for pilots to rest before heading out again.
They also recently worked to rehab the airport’s taxiway and put up a new City of Greenwood sign just outside the airport.
Curless says a 2012 economic impact study showed the airport had $27.3 million dollars of direct impact on the community.
In 2014 there were 30,600 operations, meaning landing or taking off of any aircraft, at the Greenwood Airport. Curless says that’s equivalent to 83 operations per day.
Greenwood officials say they’re hoping to start work on those new corporate hangars for jets soon, to potentially be done by late summer or fall.
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