State's airport grants predominantly benefit eastern NC


NEW BERN, Craven County - Eight area airports will receive grant money to make improvements.

Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern, Albert J. Ellis Airport in Richlands, Billy Mitchell Airport in Hatteras, First Flight Airport in Kill Devil Hills, Kinston Regional Airport, Ocracoke Island Airport, Tarboro-Edgecombe County Airport and the Duplin County airport will receive a combined total of $21.8 million of the $35.4 million the state earmarked in grants. Three million of that's expected to come to the New Bern airport, while Kinston's airport is getting the biggest sum at $8 million. Coastal Carolina Regional Airport Director Andy Shorter said small regional airports make a big difference in the state's economy. "This airport last year had a $179 million economic impact to the area," Shorter said. "We normally get federal grants for large capital projects but they haven't been to help us out on this project. So the state stepped up." Shorter said the airport will use the money to resurface its smaller runway. "Three million sounds like a lot but airport pavement is the most expensive payment in any community," Shorter said.