COVENTRY - Improvements to the Newport Airport have begun. A new hangar was just built and completed this week and it will accommodate a second homeowner who skis frequently in the area.
There are plans to build a â€ścondo hangarâ€ť that would accommodate approximately 16 aircraft. The construction may begin as early as spring.
Last week, Guy Rouelle, the State Aviation Program Administrator, and Patricia Sears, executive director of the Newport Renaissance Corporation, announced many plans for improvement for the airport including the construction of a new, larger terminal, and extending the 4,000-foot runways by 1,000 feet. This extension would allow larger jets to use the airport.
Plans to make the airport a Federal Trade Zone (FTZ) are underway, which would help area businesses significantly, said Sears. The change to a FTZ could happen as early as this summer. â€śThat will be a real game changer for economic development investment in the Newport area,â€ť Sears said.
Newport would be in one of only two such zones in Vermont, with the other at the southern end of the state in Brattleboro.
Cape Air and Jay Peak have agreed to have charter flights out of the Newport Airport, with flights beginning as soon as this winter. And next day cargo delivery service may be coming to the airport as well, Rouelle and Sears both said.
The Airport Road in Coventry will be rebuilt this year, which will be a boon to traffic to and from the airport and neighboring landfill.
A composite aircraft manufacturing company has shown interest in building a facility on the airportâ€™s available property. A final announcement with details on the plans is expected in the next few weeks.
Dan Gauvin, the owner of Lakeview Aviation at the Newport Airport, is enthusiastic about the various plans. Gauvin said that, in the past, he has turned people away who wanted to base their airplanes out of Newport but can't because of the lack of housing for aircraft. Some may leave their planes out in the elements, but it is not an attractive option, said Gauvin.
Partnerships between Newport City Renaissance Corporation, VT Transportation Agency, VT Agency for Commerce and Community Development, Northeastern Vermont Development Agency, the City of Newport, the Town of Coventry and Vermont's congressional delegation are providing energy, strategy, focus and momentum in the plans to enhance and expand the Newport Airport, Sears said.