By Megan Alley
The Clermont County Transportation Improvement District trustees approved a 1,400 feet runway extension at the Clermont County Airport during their meeting on Jan. 15.
The runway will be extended to 5,000 feet, which will allow jet engine airplanes to land at the airport, located at 2001 Sportys Drive in Batavia.
Currently, the airport’s runway is too short to accommodate jet engine airplanes; propeller planes chiefly utilize the airport.
Officials said the extension will increase the airport’s corporate travel appeal and enhance the aviation program at the University of Cincinnati Clermont College.
“Now that corporations can have a jet land and take off there, we’re hoping [the airport] will become more of an asset for economic development for the county,” said Andy Kuchta, director of the Clermont County Department of Community and Economic Development.
He added, “[The expansion] will also allow UC Clermont College to add onto their offerings the ability for students to get certified on jets.”
Aviation students must earn their propeller plane certifications before they can be certified on a jet engine, according to Kuchta.
“Most of the UC Clermont aviation students indicate that they want to go on to fly commercial jets for the big airlines,” he said.
The total cost for the project is estimated to be $1 million dollars.
Half of the funding will come from a 2014 State Capital Bill grant, and the other half will come from the county’s Economic Development Fund, according to Kuchta.
“The expansion will make our airport more competitive with other regional airports, in being able to provide benefits to corporations,” Kuchta said. “This will enhance Clermont County’s economic development attractiveness for existing companies and potential companies that are looking to locate here.”
Currently, the project is in the right of way acquisition phase, according to Craig Stephenson, Clermont County Chief Deputy Engineer.
Construction plans for the project are nearly complete, and the project is expected to break ground this year.