By Adam Pack
The Greenbrier County Airport Authority met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 18 to discuss developments regarding the beginning of Contour Airlines’ operation at the Greenbrier Valley Regional Airport.
As of now, Airport Director Brian Belcher reported to the authority that “[Contour’s] number two person, their IT person and their Director of Operations came by to take a look at the airport; this was followed by calls with the Regional Manager for Contour.” This comes in conjunction with the signing of new contracts with a company to run the gift shop, as well as an uptick in interest in advertising on and in the airport facility. Belcher attributes this renewed interest in advertising to the recent deal done to allow The Lewisburg Surf Shop to paint an advertisement on a hangar door at the airport. The new Gift Shop will be open and active for travelers on Nov. 1.
The airport is officially well-prepared for the arrival of all this new business, as these commercial opportunities come fresh off the heels of “one of the best inspections this airport has ever had” from the Federal Aviation Authority. The only issues are, “some clerical items in the Airport Certification Manual … and we had to turn some lenses in a different direction,” Belcher said these “are very easy fixes” and the inspector for the FAA “was just very impressed and positive with us and it was a very good inspection experience.”
With all this groundwork being laid, Belcher was excited to announce that the occasion of Contour’s commencement of operations with GVA will be marked by a “first flight kick-off” for airport staff as well as members of the authority. Belcher also reports that Contour is hiring for their new role at the airport. “They’ve already hired a manager and are now interviewing people.” Belcher noted that any gaps in employment will not impede the airport, as “Contour is going to shift some people around to fill those positions here, people who are already in their employ in other places and have some experience” while they look to fill those positions locally.
Belcher also updated the authority on the status of the new entrance sign for the airport. He noted that recent administrative difficulties had caused the rejection of the permits associated with the sign. Due to zoning issues, the land where the sign would go was designated as residential, despite the fact that the airport is designated as industrial property, Belcher said. This presented a major issue, as it has and would cause permits to be rejected. He went on to praise the work of the Greenbrier County Commission office, noting Kelly Banton in particular, saying “she [Banton] was very helpful, knew exactly what the issue was right away, got the appropriate authorities involved and got the issue resolved.” Now those permits are in place and approved, and construction is allowed to proceed. Contractors will be coming to the airport on Nov. 8 to do an onsite evaluation and walkthrough.