Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Plattsburgh International Airport (KPBG) to temporarily close runway this spring

PLATTSBURGH, New York — The more than a decade-long undertaking at Plattsburgh International Airport is coming to a close this year after the runway will close for more than two months for repaving. One small business shares how it's going to affect them.

Valcour Flight Endeavors is a small business operating out of Plattsburgh International Airport. They offer flight lessons to aspiring pilots.

"It's been obviously very rough, a lot of people don't even want to focus on flying when we're in the middle of a pandemic," said owner Karla Houk.

Now as business is picking back up for the flying classes, and travel restrictions are loosening, Plattsburgh International Airport's runway will close from April 13 to June 22, the latest, for repaving the 50-year-old surface.

"Unfortunately the pandemic has created an opportunity with reduced air traffic, the border restrictions, if there was ever a best-case scenario for a worst-case situation of having to close my only runway, this was probably the best-case scenario," said airport director Chris Kreig, who says the project will be an inconvenience for everyone at the airport.

He says it's a necessary project for continued safe operations at the airport, and it's been a cost for the county to maintain the runway as it deteriorates.

Houk is hoping the airport can find a way to keep 3,600 feet of the runway open - a portion that was completed back in 2018.

She is concerned for their business and others.

"It would be devastating to us, we would probably have to end up selling our planes and then the students would have to go somewhere else and we're the only place up here that teaches people how to fly in Plattsburgh," she said.

The airport's director says they've looked at all of their options, but more than a thousand feet of the completed runway is needed as a safety barrier.

"That is a requirement per FAA for maintaining a safe operating environment out there for not only the aircraft but for the construction workers because there's multiple entities that are going to be sharing the space at the same time," he said.

Kreig hopes they can finish the project sooner than June 22, when they can resume all air service and operations.

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