CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – More than 80,000 planes take-off and land in Chesterfield each year, and thanks to a new addition that number is expected to soar. This afternoon, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Chesterfield leaders and Congressman Randy Forbes opened the newest taxiway at the county's airport. It's set to have a major impact on airport business.
Despite the wet weather, bring on the planes.
"It's a pretty busy little airport. It's a reliever airport for Richmond International," said Tom Trudeau with Chesterfield County Airport.
This little airport is about to attract even more airplanes.
"The taxiway structure needed that re-build to be able to support the larger and heavier aircraft that will frequent here in the future," Trudeau.
The taxiway project that's been in the works for two years, took about six months to complete. It cost $2.1-million. Federal and state dollars funded about 98-percent of construction.
"Chesterfield Airport is the 4th largest airport in Virginia in relation to based aircraft. We have a little over 140 aircraft based here at the airport," said Mike Mickel with Dominion Aviation. "We think we'll see in an increase in traffic."
Mickel says the sky may not be the limit with the new taxiway, but increasing the weight capacity does help.
"They will be able to take on a larger fuel load. Which will enable them to go to farther destinations," he said.
Congressman Randy Forbes put some calls in to connect a weather observation system. It was sitting un-used for nearly 20 years.
"It measures everything: ceiling visibility, temperature, dew point, winds- all the stuff that pilots want to know about," said Trudeau.
Pilots can now get Chesterfield weather information in flight.
"It just makes the ground operations more efficient. We want to get people on the runway and off the runway quickly," said Mickel.
The next phase of construction will be extending the runway by about 800 feet. This will make it easier for planes to take off and land. No word on when that project begins.